Aviation

Scandal-plagued Korean Air boss dies

Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho has died aged 70 after a battle with illness.

In a tweet that has since been deleted by Korean Air, the airline said Cho “died peacefully on April 7 in a Los Angeles Hospital”, but did not provide any further details around his death.

 

Korean Air tweet

Cho had led Korean Air since 1992, and was also chairman of the global transportation giant the Hanjin Group, which owns the airline.

The death of Cho comes just two weeks after Korean Air shareholders voted to oust him from the company’s board (he still remained chairman though, as it was a non-board role) due to a number of scandals involving his family, according to the Associated Press.

A senior Korean Air exec, who spoke to AP on the condition of anonymity, said Cho had been receiving treatment for an unspecified lung illness since late last year, and that his condition “worsened rapidly” due to shock and stress from the shareholder vote.

The 70-year-old had also been indicted on multiple charges, including embezzlement and tax evasion, and AP reported that his death will likely force a court to dismiss his criminal case.

Despite being regarded in aviation circles as an air transport pioneer, Cho battled a string of scandals involving Korean Air and his family in recent years.

Last year, Cho was forced to apologise for the behaviour of his daughters, who were both employed by the airline.

Dubbed the “nut rage” incident, eldest daughter Cho Hyun-ah kicked a flight attendant off a plane after being served some macadamia nuts in a packet instead of on a plate back in 2014.

Apart from having to step down from her role at the airline, Cho Hyun-ah was served a one-year prison sentence for violating aviation law, before being released early thanks to a higher-level court suspending her sentence.

Meanwhile, younger daughter Cho Hyun-min was investigated for assault last year for allegedly throwing water in a man’s face during a business meeting, but no charges were filed.

And to top it off, Cho’s wife, Lee Myung-hee, was questioned by South Korean police in May 2018 about allegations that she abused and assaulted employees at Korean Air’s parent company, according to AP.



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