AP: Korean Air boss dies weeks after board removal over scandals

FILE - In this July 5, 2018 file photo, Cho Yang-ho, the chairman of Korean Air Lines Co., arrives for hearing to review the prosecution's request for an arrest warrant on charge of embezzlement at the Seoul Southern District Court in Seoul, South Korea. Korean Air says on Monday, April 8, 2019, its chairman, Cho Yang-ho, has died in the United States because of an unspecified illness. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

April 8, 2019
KIM TONG-HYUNG

FILE – In this Dec. 12, 2014 file photo, Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho, speaks to the media about an apology at its head office in Seoul, South Korea. Korean Air says on Monday, April 8, 2019, its chairman, Cho Yang-ho, has died in the United States because of an unspecified illness. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)
FILE – In this June 28, 2018 file photo, Cho Yang-ho, center, the chairman of Korean Air Lines Co., arrives for an investigation over allegations of embezzlement at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul, South Korea. Korean Air says on Monday, April 8, 2019, its chairman, Cho Yang-ho, has died in the United States because of an unspecified illness. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Korean Air’s chairman, whose leadership included scandals such as his daughter’s infamous incident of “nut rage,” has died due to illness, the company said Monday.

Cho Yang-ho had been indicted on multiple charges, including embezzlement and tax evasion, and his death came two weeks after shareholders voted to remove the 70-year-old from the company’s board over a series of scandals surrounding his family. Cho’s death will likely force a court to dismiss his criminal case.

The company said in a statement that Cho died at a hospital in Los Angeles but did not specify his illness or provide other details. Cho had remained chairman, which is a non-board role, even after shareholders ousted him from the board. He had expressed his intent to continue participating in management.

A senior Korean Air executive said Cho had been receiving treatment for an unspecified lung illness since late last year and that his condition “worsened rapidly” following the shareholder vote, apparently because of shock and stress. The executive didn’t want to be named, citing office rules.

Korean Air’s corporate flag and the South Korean flag were flown half-staff at the company’s headquarters in downtown Seoul.

Cho’s eldest daughter, Cho Hyun-ah, who was formerly the head of the airline’s cabin service, received worldwide notoriety in 2014 after she ordered a Korean Air passenger plane to return to a terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York because she was angry that the crew served her macadamia nuts in a bag instead of on a plate.

The incident, dubbed “nut rage,” generated international headlines and severely tarnished the Cho family’s image, while highlighting broader concerns about the sense of entitlement among the moneyed elite in South Korea.

Cho Hyun-ah was sentenced to one year in prison for violating aviation law but was released early when a higher-level court suspended the sentence.

The Cho family also faced intense criticism after company employees alleged they were subjected to mistreatment and tantrums.

Cho’s wife was summoned last May by South Korean police to question her about allegations that she abused and assaulted employees. Lee Myung-hee was accused of physically or verbally abusing more than 10 former and current employees of Korean Air’s parent company.

Cho’s younger daughter, Cho Hyun-min, also was investigated by state prosecutors for potential assault for allegedly hurling a cup of water during a business meeting. No charges were filed.

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Korean Air boss dies weeks after board removal over scandals
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Korean Air boss dies weeks after board removal over scandals
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Korean Air’s chairman, whose leadership included scandals such as his daughter’s infamous incident of “nut rage,” has died due to illness, the company said Monday.