S. Korean general indicted for embezzlement
Stars and Stripes May 16, 2004
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — South Korean military prosecutors indicted the deputy commander of the Combined Forces Command on Friday on embezzlement charges, automatically suspending the four-star general from his official duties.
Gen. Shin Il-soon, who serves as second in command of the joint U.S.-South Korean military structure, was arrested last weekend on charges he siphoned nearly $120,000 in South Korean military funds for his personal use.
Maj. Gen. Park Seung-hwan, the CFC deputy chief of staff, was named as Shin’s replacement and began his new duties Friday, according to a South Korean Ministry of National Defense spokesman.
Until Friday, officials said, Shin had been allowed to perform his major functions as deputy commander. Shin had been held at MND headquarters while undergoing several rounds of questioning, the spokesman said.
Shin has worked on Yongsan Garrison since April 2003; before that, he served at Republic of Korea Army Headquarters.
The investigation began after anonymous tips from within South Korea’s military, officials said. Several anonymous letters, signed only as “People Who Love the Armed Forces,” contained the allegations against Shin.
Shin is the first active-duty South Korean general officer to be indicted on corruption charges since the Republic of Korea Armed Forces were formed in 1945, but he might not be the last.
According to military prosecutors, at least one other active-duty general and three retired generals are also being investigated. Prosecutors said Friday they are questioning a former commander of the Republic of Korea Marine Corps over allegations he misappropriated military funds and solicited bribes.
Lee Chul-woo, a retired three-star general, is suspected of using nearly $70,000 in military funds for personal purposes while he was active duty between 2001 and 2003, prosecutors said. Lee is one of several current and former South Korean military figures under investigation.
— Jennifer Kleckner contributed to this report.