Builder to stand trial for embezzlement and fraud

SEOUL, June 24 (Yonhap) -- The former head of a small construction firm alleged to have bribed a former government spy agency chief was indicted on Monday for embezzlement and fraud, prosecutors said.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office suspects that Hwang Bo-yeon, the former chief of now-bankrupt Hwangbo Construction, embezzled some 15 billion won (US$12.9 million) in company funds and fraudulently loaned about 10 billion won, they said.

Hwang allegedly created slush funds with the money he had siphoned off, they added.

The businessman has been under scrutiny for allegedly bribing Won Sei-hoon, the former chief of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), in return for business favors. Won stepped down from the position in February when President Park Geun-hye's government took office.

State prosecutors said they will continue investigating allegations that Won accepted bribes from Hwang in exchange for helping his company clinch several construction deals.

In a separate case, Won was indicted earlier this month on charges of ordering an online smear campaign against opposition candidates to sway public opinion in favor of President Park, the then ruling party candidate, prior to the Dec. 19 presidential election.

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