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Officials arrested as part of corruption probe into Korea Swimming Federation
A Korea Swimming Federation official and two coaches have reportedly been arrested as part of an investigation into alleged embezzlement of Government funding.
Around 3.56 billion won (US$2.9 million) has been believed to have been stolen by the officials over the past eight years, according South Korean news agency Yonhap.
The funds were claimed to have been awarded to the KSF to provide training for swimmers.
Prosecutors are now investigating whether the money has been misappropriated.
Last week a KSF executive, identified only by his initial ‘L’, was detained with a formal warrant issued by a local court.
The suspect, who has worked as a coach and manager of the national water polo team on numerous occasions since 2004, is accused of handing over funds to higher-ranked Board members of the organisation.
It is claimed this has been in exchange for favours to maintain his status in the KSF or to exert his influence over the selection of athletes.
Another Board member, identified by his surname Chung, was arrested earlier in February on charges of receiving bribes.
He had been alleged to have received money from a private swimming club, run by another Board member, to influence selections to the national swimming team.
Chung was also accused of taking money from various coaches in order to favour their athletes during the selection process.
It was claimed there were "considerable reasons" to issue a warrant for his arrest last month, with suggestions that the official did take bribes, and fears he might attempt to destroy evidence.
Proceedings have followed a raid on KSF headquarters in Seoul on 17th February, part of an attempt to investigate corruption allegations within the organisation.
The KSF has been suspected of forging various documents, as well as taking funds that were meant to be awarded to athletes to help with their training expenses.
South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism had announced that funding to the KSF has been halted.
All four members caught up in the selection scandal have been dismissed, according to the KSF.
The scandal is another major embarrassment for swimming in South Korea.
In 2014, Kim Yoon-suk, General Secretary of the Committee who led Gwangju's successful bid to host the 2019 World Aquatics Championships, narrowly avoided prison after admitting he had forged the signatures of South Korea's Prime Minister and Culture Secretary guaranteeing the Government's support for the campaign.
He escaped with a six-month suspended sentence after a court decided he had committed the crime not out of personal greed but because he believed it would help the city.
Images: South Korean swimmers at the 2014 Asian Games (top) and the Nambu University International Aquatics Centre, host venue for the 2019 World Aquatics Championships (below).
17th July 2015 - 28TH SUMMER UNIVERSIADE CLOSES IN GWANGJU
30th September 2013 - SCANDAL HITS KOREAN CITY’S HOSTING OF 2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
15th October 2011 - KOREA’S EXPENSIVE SPORTING HABIT
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