The troubled Korean Air siblings Heather “Nut Rage” Cho and her sister Cho Hyun-min, who have both been dogged by abuse of power scandals, are resigning their positions with the company.
The CEO of Korean Air Cho Yang-ho made the announcement that his two daughters will step down.
“I sincerely apologize for upsetting the general public and employees at Korean Air over issues related to members of my family,” the elder Cho said, Adding that his two daughters will be stripped of all their responsibilities.
“I would have Korean Air Senior Vice President Cho Hyun-min step down from all of her posts within Hanjin Group, as well as Cho Hyun-ah, president of KAL Hotel Network, resign as well.”
His son, Cho Won-tae, remains on as President and Chief Operating Officer of Korean Air according to the BBC.
According to Yonhap, Korean customs officers recently searched the homes of all three Cho siblings on suspicion that they brought luxury goods into the country using Korean Air to avoid paying duties on the items.
Officials said a whistleblower alerted them and they “have been trying to get in direct touch with the corresponding employee (who made the claim), but the person is refraining from going public,” due to fear of reprisals.
The tip was enough, however, to launch an investigation.
“Investigators are cross-checking items that were bought by the Cho family using credit cards with those reported to customs to see if there were any deletions,” said a government spokesperson, adding that “evidence” was secured in the form of photos of items brought into the country without going through customs.
Officials have yet to complete the investigation at which point they will decide whether there were unlawful actions.
Yonhap also reported that the elder Cho’s announcement of his daughter’s resignations came just hours after revelations that he ordered the soundproofing of his office over the weekend – this viewed as a response to the release by OhMyNews of audio recorded at Korean Air headquarters that it claims has Cho Hyun-min going into a furious rage at staff.
A spokesperson for Korean Air confirmed to the Korean media that the work was carried out at the offices of all executives but said that soundproofing was not involved.
Ongoing water and citizenship investigations
Police are still conducting an investigation of the youngest daughter Cho Hyun-min, a senior VP at Korean Air before her resignation, over allegations that she either splashed water or threw a water bottle at a staff member of an ad agency in Seoul.
Last week, police said they sent investigators to the ad company – identified by MBC news as HS Ad in Seoul, to examine a recording of the meeting and text messages exchanged among participants.
It was also announced last week that a separate probe was launched by the Ministry of Land concerning Cho’s citizenship status. She was born in Hawaii – making her a U.S. citizen, which is a violation of Korea’s Aviation Business Act banning foreigners from being registered as directors of Korean-based airline companies.
The unfolding events have been the source of headlines across the country adding fuel to the national debate on Korea’s family-run conglomerates known as “chaebols.”