With only six days left until the start of the next season of League of Legends Champions Korea, one of the largest scandals in Korean esports is still raging on in the background.
Roughly two months after prosecutors raided the offices of the Korean Esports Association (KeSPA) and uncovered what appeared to be a nebulous web of nepotism, corruption, and embezzlement, the mounting case against the association’s former president Jun Byung-Hun looks to be far from over.
The scandal surrounding Jun Byung-Hun began after the Korean Prosecutor’s Office suspected that Korean home shopping network Lotte Homeshopping had bribed the former KeSPA chairman, who at the time was sitting on the nation’s broadcast and communications board. The company is believed to have sent the money under the guise of a donation to KeSPA in hopes of helping the company to secure its broadcast license.
Jun Byung-Hun, who was regarded as one of the committee’s most powerful lawmakers, served as KeSPA chairman for roughly three years before being picked by current South Korean president Moon Jae-In as one of his secretaries. After the allegations against the former chairman surfaced, Jun Byung-Hun resigned from his post—but still maintains his innocence and claims the allegations stem from a “misunderstanding,” according to a report by the Yonhap News Agency on Dec. 12.
Yet aside from the alleged bribe from Lotte Homeshopping, prosecutors have added multiple other counts of corruption to the case. Most notably, Jun Byung-Hun has reportedly received suspected bribes from Korean telecom giant KT, according to the Korea Times. KT operates one of the largest esports teams in Korea, KT Rolster, and is suspected of having had employees send a number of large payments masked as donations to KeSPA in order to garner Jun Byung-Hun support while he still served on the broadcast and communications board.
Adding to the list of allegations, Jun Byung-Hun is also suspected of providing himself a salary while serving as KeSPA chairman, which was, allegedly, used to pay his aides—as well as for private excursions for his family.
Since the raid on the KeSPA offices on Nov. 7, Korean prosecutors have attempted to issue warrants for Jun Byung-Hun’s arrest on two separate occasions. Both warrants have, however, been rejected by the Seoul district court on grounds that “the bribery and embezzlement charges laid against him are disputable and he seems to be at low risk of fleeing or destroying evidence given the evidence collected so far,” according to Yonhap.
As the case against the former chairman mounts, it’s becoming more and more evident that KeSPA is merely a footnote in the overall story, which unveils an even bigger web of corruption within the country.