Nexon Founder Indicted in Latest Korean Graft Scandal

  • Kim Jung Ju faces bribery charge over payments to prosecutor
  • ‘I apologize with my head bowed,’ Kim says in statement

The founder of Nexon Co., South Korea’s largest online gamemaker, has been indicted for bribery over payments to a senior prosecutor, in the latest corruption scandal to rattle the country.

Kim Jung Ju, the chairman of Nexon parent NXC Corp. and among the country’s richest people, was accused of paying travel expenses and a luxury car lease for the senior prosecutor, the South Korean special prosecutor’s office said Friday. The senior prosecutor, Jin Kyung Joon, was also indicted on allegations that he received bribes from Kim, the special prosecutor said.

Kim issued a written apology shortly after the indictment was announced, saying he was resigning as a director of Nexon, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

“I apologize with my head bowed,” Kim said, adding that he forgot that public and private relationships were subject to different rules. Kim and Jin had been classmates at Seoul National University.

The cases against Kim and Jin are among a flurry of corruption investigations and arrests that have gripped the country and have added to the push to enact a law to fight corruption. On Thursday, South Korea’s constitutional court upheld the nation’s strictest-ever law against graft. It takes effect in September.

For more on South Korea’s recent corruption scandals, click here

The indictment against Kim comes just days after the eldest daughter of Lotte Group’s founder was formally charged with bribery and embezzlement. Shin Young Ja, 73, has denied the allegations that she took kickbacks from a cosmetic maker and embezzled more than $3.5 million from a company owned by her son.

Nexon shares fell 4.4 percent to 1,540 yen Friday in Tokyo. Kim founded Nexon in 1994 and has a net worth of $2.5 billion, according CEOSCORE, a Seoul-based corporate watchdog group.

(Corrects second paragraph to show prosecutors identified only Kim Jun Ju as the source of the alleged bribes.)
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