Official accused of taking bribes from telecom exec is no longer at AAFES
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Clifton W. Choy, a longtime Army and Air Force Exchange Service official under investigation in a bribery probe involving the South Korean telecommunications firm SSRT, is no longer employed by AAFES, Stars and Stripes learned Tuesday.
Choy’s 36 years of AAFES employment ended Feb. 17, according to AAFES officials. But AAFES said privacy rules bar them from divulging why Choy’s employment ended.
Choy and former AAFES official H. Lee Holloway have been under investigation by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations into allegations they received bribes from SSRT executive Jeong Gi-hwan so his company could provide Internet and phone services on U.S. military installations in South Korea.
Both Choy and Holloway have declined Stripes interviews about the allegations.
Stripes first reported the two men were under investigation in its Jan. 7 editions.
Holloway’s nearly 17 years of AAFES employment ended Jan. 11. AAFES has declined to say why his employment concluded.
Choy was services program manager at AAFES’ Pacific headquarters on Camp Foster, Okinawa, from February 2005 until his employment ended.
Holloway’s last AAFES position was as general manager at Fort Benning, Ga. At Osan Air Base in South Korea, Holloway was AAFES general manager from June 2000 through August 2005.
Jeong meanwhile is awaiting trial in Suwon District Court on charges he paid Choy $100,000 to help SSRT get the contract, and paid Holloway $68,000 to shield the company from possible adverse actions by AAFES over customer complaints of poor service and price gouging.
The alleged bribes were in the form of cash and entertainment, according to South Korean authorities.
Jeong’s lawyers have said he is innocent.
SSRT has denied price gouging or providing substandard service.
The OSI investigation into the bribery allegations recently concluded and findings are expected to be turned over soon to U.S. criminal authorities, Stripes also learned Tuesday.
It will be up to U.S. attorneys in the appropriate geographic jurisdictions to review the findings and weigh what further action, if any, might be warranted, OSI officials have said.
AAFES officials have promised “the full spectrum” of corrective actions if the bribery allegations prove founded.
On Jan. 31 SSRT, also known as Samsung Rental Corp. Ltd., transferred the rights to its Internet and phone service contract to LG Dacom through a legal process called novation. The contract runs through 2019.
LG Dacom personnel are working with SSRT through April to ensure a smooth transition, AAFES said last month in a news release announcing the novation.