Seventeen indicted in Seoul black-market beer plot
SEOUL — Seoul prosecutors have indicted 17 South Koreans in connection with a black-marketing scheme that moved 56,000 cases of beer from U.S. bases to local businesses.
Sixteen suspects were charged Oct. 7 with illegally purchasing the beer, said Choe Sang-gi with the Foreign Affairs Division of the Seoul Prosecutors Office. Choe said the 17th suspect, an Army and Air Force Exchange employee identified only as “Lee,” was charged with violating South Korean tax laws.
All 17 will face trial in Seoul District Court. Neither Choe nor court officials could provide trial dates when contacted Tuesday afternoon.
Customs officials who originally investigated the case said an 18th suspect — another AAFES employee — died Aug. 1 after jumping from the roof of his apartment building.
U.S. Forces Korea officials have said the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command has been cooperating with the South Korea-led investigation.
The scam moved duty-free beer, worth about $1.5 million, from Area I installations to local businesses, both South Korean and U.S. officials confirmed.
USFK officials have said they continuously review security procedures “to prevent unlawful transfer of goods to non-SOFA personnel.”