Court reviews arrest of CJ group chairman

SEOUL, July 1 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court began a hearing on Monday to decide whether to arrest the chairman of food and entertainment conglomerate CJ Group who faces charges of creating secret funds and evading taxes.

Chairman Lee Jay-hyun showed up at the Seoul Central District Court in southern Seoul to attend the hearing around 11:00 a.m.

Lee is charged with dodging some 70 billion won (US$61.4 million) in taxes by stashing secret funds and misappropriating 100 billion won in company money. The country's 10th richest man is additionally accused of inflicting financial losses worth 35 billion won to the group by fraudulently purchasing two buildings in Tokyo.

"I will sincerely respond (to the hearing)," the embattled chairman told reporters.

Surrounded by reporters, the 53-year-old tycoon hurriedly entered the court without answering further questions.

During questioning by prosecutors last week, Lee admitted to having instructed group executives to create slush funds but claimed the funds were not for personal use, according to prosecution sources.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office probing the case requested an arrest warrant for the businessman on Wednesday, saying his detention is necessary given the seriousness of the charges against him. He was charged with embezzlement, breach of trust and tax evasion.

A decision on the warrant will be made later in the day, court officials said.

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