Famous Music Video Director Accused of Bullying CJ Group
SEOUL, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- A figure deeply implicated in a presidential confidante scandal was alleged Friday to have abused his power to try to take over projects managed by entertainment giant CJ Group, most likely for personal gains.
A source privy to the proceedings of the projects said Cha Eun-taek, a former director of TV ads and music videos, demanded that he be given the top controlling posts at the two projects operated by the conglomerate. When refused, Cha turned "unfriendly" toward CJ, he said.
What the source has described supports allegations that Cha, using his close ties with presidential confidante Choi Soon-sil, pressured CJ which he regarded as an impediment to his drive to monopolize state-backed cultural promotion businesses. As Cha was quickly raising his profile in the culture and entertainment community, CJ's Vice Chairman Miky Lee suddenly left for the United States, citing health issues. People who have begun to speak out recently on what had happened said that Lee was forced to leave the country on pressure from the outside to give up her responsibilities at the company.
According to the source, Cha demanded that he be made the chief of the Creative Center for Convergence Culture (CCCC), one of the first hubs to open to create what would form the Culture Creation and Convergence Belt, a centerpiece cultural project undertaken by the government. The CJ Group established the CCCC at its headquarters in western Seoul.
The conglomerate also decided to build K-Culture Valley, a site the size of 46 football fields that would house shopping malls, hotels, theme parks and concert halls to host an array of cultural events. The source said Cha demanded that he be given a job title to oversee all performances at the facility that is scheduled to be completed next year.
"CJ rejected all of the demands. As far as I know, Cha turned unfriendly toward CJ after that," the source said.
The Culture Creation and Convergence Belt was given a budget of some 700 billion won (US$608 million) until 2019 to build hubs throughout the country.
"Cha probably wanted to pull all the strings in content planning and business development by taking over CJ's CCCC. There is a chance that he wanted a position at the K-Culture Valley for personal gains from arranging large performances."
Cha is already suspected of funneling lucrative state cultural projects to companies he is either directly or indirectly involved with and making profits.