Jeon Gwang-hoon, a pastor and chief of the Christian Council of Korea who has been accused of seditious conspiracy for repeatedly calling for President Moon Jae-in to step down, is under investigation over other charges, including violation of the banking law and forgery of documents.
According to police, Jeon was questioned at Hyehwa Police Station in Seoul on Friday over allegations that he walked away with money he collected from Christians for a “mission bank” that he established.
He is accused of violating the banking law, as he set up Korean Church Mission Bank Corp. in 2014 under the pretext of writing off the church’s debts and improving the treatment of pastors.
“According to the Banking Act, one must get approval from the Financial Services Commission in order to operate a bank, and one cannot use the word ‘bank’ in the business name unless it is a bank or the Bank of Korea,” said the accuser, a member of the Christian community.
“Pastor Jeon set up the corporation without approval from the FSC or meeting the requirements for establishing a bank, and used the word ‘bank’ in its name.”
The accuser said that Jeon also should be investigated on charges of embezzlement or breach of trust, as he collected money from Christians around the country but the money is nowhere to be found.
Jeon is also under probe for allegedly forging his career certificate and recommendation letters when he ran for chairman of the CCK.
The complaint against Jeon related to violation of the banking law, embezzlement and breach of trust was filed in April, and the complaint related to the forgery of documents was filed in February with the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office.
Jeon has flatly denied the allegations.
A person close to Jeon claimed that the pastor has “not collected a penny” for the mission bank corporation, which has been “put on hold as funds and business plans are not ready.”
The person also said some pastors had filed for a provisional injunction on execution of duty against Jeon on suspicions that he forged the recommendation letters, but the court had rejected it in the first trial.
Protestant civic group Peace Tree has filed a complaint with the prosecution against Jeon on charges of seditious conspiracy, claiming that he suggested “attacking the presidential office and dragging out President Moon” during a gathering of pastors late last year.
In a statement that he issued as CCK chairman last month, Jeon demanded Moon step down, saying South Korea is facing the risk of being communized.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)