SK founder’s grandson got suspended jail term for drug use
This is the fourth of a series, which highlights Korea’s wealthy businesspeople who caused troubles related to drugs, alcohol, and power harassment called “gap-jil” here. _ ED.
SK Group is one of the largest business conglomerates in South Korea as its subsidiaries include such profitable subsidiaries as SK Innovation, SK Telecom, and SK hynix.
Founded in 1953 during the Korean War by Choi Jong-gun, SK Group has competed with the country’s representative players like Samsung and Hyundai over the past several decades.
Family members of the Seoul-based group suffered from various troubles, as demonstrated by founder Choi Jong-gun and current Chairman Chey Tae-won.
The former died in 1973 at the young age of 48 to become one of the most short-lived chaebol chiefs in the country. The latter was imprisoned twice for accounting frauds and embezzlement.
Unlike other conglomerates, SK scions have hardly been involved in a drug scandal. But things changed last year when Choi Young-geun was indicted for violating the narcotics law.
Choi Young-geun is the grandson of SK founder Choi and son of late SK Chemicals Chairman Choi Yoon-won. The 31-year-old heir worked for an SK unit called SK D&D.
Choi Young-geun faced charges that he had smoked liquid marijuana for around a year since early 2018. Consuming or trading the substance is illegal in South Korea.
The third-generation SK member, who studied at Parsons School of Design, was sentenced to a one-year jail term last September, which was suspended for two years.
A high court also upheld the ruling last December but warned that Choi Young-geun might be imprisoned next time if he consumes marijuana once again.
Choi Young-geun’s father Choi Yoon-won, who passed away in 2000, is a cousin of current SK Chairman Chey Tae-won.
Choi Young-geun’s family made news in 2018 when Chairman Chey decided to give shares of the group’s holding company SK Holdings. The amount was almost 500,000 shares, which is some 0.7 percent of the total.
Back then, Chairman Chey opted to give away more than 3 million shares whose value was almost 1 trillion won ($800 million) to his relatives to appreciate their roles in the growth of SK Group.