Lee Jong-geol (61), former CEO of K League 2 Ansan Greeners FC, was handed over to trial on charges of exchanging money and valuables in exchange for amateur players to join professional soccer clubs. It is reported that the indictment includes former national team coach Choi Tae-wook, who served as coach of Ben Touho at last year’s Qatar World Cup and contributed to Korea’s advancement to the round of 16 of the World Cup.
On the 13th, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office’s Criminal Division 9 (Chief Prosecutor Kim Hyun-ah) announced that it had indicted former CEO Lee and the club’s power reinforcement team leader, Mr. Bae, without detention on charges including breach of trust.
According to the prosecution, former CEO Lee is accused of having two players join the team from last year to this year and receiving 50 million won worth of Mercedes-Benz cars, Rolex watches, and cash from the players’ parents and agent Mr. Choi.
He is also accused of receiving 9 million won from former Ansan FC coach Lim Jong-heon (57, arrested and indicted) in exchange for his appointment as coach. Former coach Lim was also first arrested and indicted in July on charges of receiving 45 million won from Choi in exchange for joining a professional soccer team.
The prosecution confirmed that Choi colluded with former coach Choi Tae-wook in the process of handing money and valuables to Ansan FC, and former coach Choi was also indicted without detention on charges of breach of trust.
Former coach Choi was investigated as a former coach of a player who was trying to join Ansan FC.
In this case, while the prosecution was reviewing Mr. Choi’s fraud case, which the police decided not to forward in May of this year, suspicious circumstances of money transactions between them were detected, and the full picture was revealed through a reinvestigation.
As a result of the investigation, the prosecution detected a systematic crime in which agents or parents of soccer players paid money to their managers in exchange for a soccer player’s admission to a professional team, and also provided money and valuables to the manager and representative of the professional team that the soccer player would join.메이저사이트10 people were sent to trial.
However, considering that players and their parents realistically have no choice but to comply with the agent’s requests or instructions, the prosecution did not file cases where there was room for them to be considered actual victims.
The prosecution recovered the proceeds of the crime through collection and preservation and notified the Korea Football Association of the related misconduct.
A prosecution official said, “We will do our best to maintain the prosecution so that the defendants who dismiss ‘player trading’ as a practice are punished commensurate with the crime.”
Meanwhile, the soccer world is unable to hide its shock as former coach Choi was indicted without detention on charges of conspiring to receive bribes with an agent to get his former student to join a professional soccer K-League club. This is because former coach Choi worked hard in everything he did and even had a sincere image.
Accordingly, the Korea Professional Football League announced on the 13th, “Former coach Tae-wook Choi has been immediately excluded from technical research group (TSG) work.” The federation plans to discuss whether to impose additional disciplinary action by combining the future trial process and the judgment results of the Korea Football Association’s Fair Committee.
Although he escaped arrest, the prosecution requested a formal trial, believing that former coach Choi’s charges included sufficient criminal activity. The legal penalty for the charge that former coach Choi is facing, which is bribery for an improper request, is imprisonment for up to two years or a fine of up to 5 million won.
Former coach Choi, whose name was included in a major trend in Korean soccer history, is a soccer player with a familiar and friendly image to soccer fans. He was a member of the semi-finals of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup and also participated in the 2002 Busan Asian Games and the 2004 Athens Olympics.
After retiring from K-League 1 Ulsan Hyundai in 2014, he transformed into a leader, starting as a youth scout in Ulsan and then as a youth coach for K-League 2 Seoul E-Land. In 2018, he was appointed as the national team coach assisting former national team coach Paulo Bento, and contributed to Korea’s advancement to the round of 16 at last year’s World Cup in Qatar.
The Korea Football Association is also considering what to do with former coach Choi Tae-wook.
An official from the Football Association said, “If the prosecution reports misconduct, we will look at the indictment and decide whether or not to convene the Fair Trade Commission.” He explained.
After former coach Lim was indicted, the Ansan club immediately dismissed him and, after conspiring for a new coach, brought in former Jeonnam head coach Lim Gwan-sik as the new head coach and is currently running the league. However, perhaps due to the turbulent atmosphere of the club, they are only ranked 12th out of 13 clubs in the 2023 K League 2 season with 4 wins, 6 draws, and 17 losses (18 points).