State health insurance employee accused of embezzlement extradited from Philippines

Suspect allegedly wired KRW4.6 billion in company funds to his account

State health insurance employee accused of embezzlement extradited from Philippines

Insurance News

By Kenneth Araullo

A former employee of the state-run National Health Insurance Service in South Korea, identified by his surname Choi, was extradited from the Philippines for allegedly embezzling billions of won.

Choi, 46, arrived at Incheon International Airport and was taken directly to the Gangwon Provincial Police Agency in Chuncheon for further investigation.

According to a report from The Korea Times, Choi is accused of transferring a total of KRW4.6 billion (equivalent to about US$3.4 million) from company funds to his personal account in seven separate instances since April 2022. He subsequently fled to the Philippines. According to officials, the embezzled funds were then converted into cryptocurrency in an attempt to conceal them.

The police initiated their investigation following a complaint lodged by the health insurance firm in September 2022. After an extensive search lasting one year and four months, Choi was located and apprehended at a luxury resort in Manila on Jan. 9.

Upon his arrival at the airport, Choi expressed remorse to his former employer and the public but declined to comment on whether any funds remained or his motives for the crime. He did, however, assert that he acted without any accomplices.

The police are now focused on tracing the usage of the embezzled funds and determining if any of the money, beyond the KRW720 million already recovered by the health insurance firm, is still unaccounted for.

Authorities are expected to request an arrest warrant for Choi, moving forward with the legal proceedings in the case.

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