Korean Air Heiress Summoned By Prosecutors

kpride, Dec. 16, 2014, 10:43 a.m.

Prosecutors said Monday they plan to summon Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-ah for questioning on Wednesday over the "nut rage" incident at JFK airport in New York last week.  Prosecutors plan to seek an arrest warrant for Cho on charges of violating aviation regulations by forcing an aircraft to change course. When Cho, then a vice president of the airline, became enraged over the way her nuts were served in first class, she ordered the purser off the plane, forcing the pilot to taxi back to the terminal.

Prosecutors have already searched Korean Air's offices and interviewed cabin crew and a passenger, who testified Cho's hissy fit and also submitted copies of mobile text massages she exchanged with her friend while aboard the aircraft. But they are apparently concerned that staff at the carrier may destroy evidence.

Prosecutors want to ask whether she used her powerful position to force the purser off the flight and whether she assaulted the air hostess who served her macadamia nuts.  Cho denied the allegations in initial questioning by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, but the ministry was allegedly unduly deferential and prosecutors are confident they can prove charges against her based on the accounts of cabin crew.

Prosecutors will also investigate whether Korean Air coerced cabin crew to give false testimony or destroy evidence. Prosecutors have testimony from one Korean Air staffer that an executive instructed cabin crew to tell investigators that the purser got off the plane voluntarily after being criticized for failing to find the relevant in-flight regulation quickly enough.

A prosecution official said, "There are concerns over evidence tampering, so we plan to stop this by filing for an arrest warrant."  Meanwhile, prosecutors on Monday summoned one of the flight attendants as a witness. She reportedly told prosecutors that Cho chided the first-class flight attendant but did not use physical force. 


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