Once again, David Yonggi Cho is under investigation for financial mismanagement.
David Yonngi Cho is recognised in the New Apostolic Reformation cult as an International “Apostle”. He is Phil Pringle and Kong Hee’s personal mentor and recently spoke last month at Phil Pringle’s C3 Church in Sydney, Australia.
The Korea Times reports,
Tax agency set to audit Full Gospel Church
The National Tax Service (NTS) is set to audit the Yoido Full Gospel Church, targeting pastor David Yonggi Cho who is suspected of embezzling 80 billion won ($67 million) of funds, said officials of the church on Monday.
They said that the church’s pastor Lee Young-hoon told elders Sunday to prepare a room on the 11th floor of the Kookmin Ilbo’s main office in Yeouido, Seoul because the NTS will soon begin a tax audit against the world’s largest church. Kookmin is a daily newspaper run by the church.
“We will face the tax audit soon. That is the fact,” said an official of the church, asking not to be named.
The official admitted that the problem in the church is well-known to the public.
The NTS refused to comment on the issue, referring to privacy concerns for taxpayers. This is the first time that the tax authorities will have conducted an audit of the megachurch.
The announcement came while the prosecutors’ office is investigating Cho’s aides over allegedly embezzling church funds. He allegedly took 60 billion won of funds intended for overseas mission projects as well as an additional 20 billion won as severance pay without approval from the church.
The Seoul Central District Court sentenced the 80-year-old pastor to two and half years in jail with four years of suspension for inflicting 13.1 billion won of losses to the church and tax evasion worth 3.5 billion won by ordering church officials to buy stocks in his son’s company with church funds at a rate more expensive than the market price. His son Hee-joon was arrested after being sentenced to three years in prison.
Critics say that the collapse of Pastor Cho illustrates how deeply corrupt Korea’s megachurches are, after a rapid growth during the last few decades. A few years ago, SaRang Community Church, a Presbyterian church, drew criticism for establishing a luxury 14-story church building in the lucrative southern Seoul district of Seocho, spending 300 billion won.
The church’s pastor Oh Jung-hyun was also suspended from his job for six months in 2012 for plagiarizing his Ph.D thesis from the Potchefstroom University in South Africa. He was also accused of embezzling church funds during the construction of the new building. The church’s congregation has been split since then by those supporting Oh and those opposing him.
Source: By Kim Jae-won, Tax agency set to audit Full Gospel Church, The Korea Times reports, http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2016/03/488_200319.html, Published 14/03.2016. (Accessed 14/03/2016.)