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Founder of World's Largest Church Could Face Indictment for Alleged Stock Scheme

Yoido Full Gospel Church's David Yonggi Cho is accused of $9 million stock loss and $5.5 million in tax evasion.

The founding pastor of the world's largest Pentecostal congregation could be indicted on charges of breach of trust for costing the church more than $9 million in a stock scheme gone awry.

South Korean news sources report that prosecutors are investigation David Yonggi Cho, founder of Yoido Full Gospel Church which has more than 1 million congregants, for a stock scheme in which he arranged for the church to buy his son Cho Hee-jun's stock "at a rate three to four times higher than market value." Prosecutors also found evidence that Cho has accrued $5.5 million in tax debt.

Cho first came under investigation in 2011, when church elders accused him of embezzling $20 million. Cho also has been criticized for privatizing church assets.

The subject of church taxation has been a sticky one for Cho, leading to the current investigation against him. In December 2012, South Korean prosecutors booked his son Cho Hee-jun without detention and "identified David Cho as an accomplice to the crime of breach of trust."

CT previously noted in 2006 that Yoido Full Gospel had selected Lee Young-hoon to replace Cho as head pastor.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect that Cho to correct errors regarding the state of the investigation. We apologize for the errors.

Related Topics:Asia
Posted:March 1, 2013 at 11:16AM
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