Arrest Planned in Korean Air Scandal Over First-Class Nuts Row

South Korea’s prosecutors plan to seek an arrest warrant for a former vice president of Korean Air Lines Co. after she forced an employee to deplane over the service of macadamia nuts, Yonhap News said.

The warrant will be sought tomorrow for violating aviation safety regulations, including change of flight plan, the news agency reported, citing the prosecutors. Heather Cho, daughter of Korean Air’s chairman, will appear before a judge for the review of the warrant application for warrant early next week, the report said.

Phone calls to the prosecutors’ office weren’t answered.

Heather Cho ordered the head of the service crew on Flight 86 from New York to Seoul to deplane on Dec. 5 after an attendant earlier had served her macadamia nuts without asking, the carrier said Dec. 8. Cho then summoned the purser to ask a question about the airline’s policy on serving nuts. She ordered the plane back to the gate and instructed the man to leave the plane when he couldn’t answer.

The aircraft had already left the gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport for takeoff when the incident happened. It took no more than 2 minutes to return to the gate to deplane the crew member, according to the airline. The flight was 11 minutes late when it arrived in Seoul Dec. 6.

Heather Cho, who was flying in first class, resigned from all of her positions at Korean Air and other affiliates after the incident created public backlash.

Cho Yang Ho, chairman of Korean Air, apologized to the public.

Prosecutors also plan to seek an arrest warrant for a Korean Air executive it didn’t name for allegedly destroying evidence related to the incident, Yonhap said.

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