Another hammer has dropped on two disgraced South Korean curling coaches.
Kim Kyung-doo and Jang Ban-seok have been sentenced for embezzling funds from curling heroines Team Kim, winners of the women’s silver medal at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games.
Two years after Team Kim first came forward with stunning accusations, Daegu District Court’s sixth criminal division has sentenced Kim to one year in prison and Jang to one year’s imprisonment plus two years probation.
Kim is the former vice president of the Korea Curling Federation and son-in-law Jang is the former coach of the 2018 Olympic mixed doubles team.
Prosecutors had charged Kim and Jang with using sports association grants and private company sponsorships for the operation of the Uiseong Curling Center–which Kim helped build–and for intercepting and keeping some U.S. $112,000 in prize money and sponsorships that were to be given to the players.
Last November 30, Kim, Jang and Kim’s daughter Kim Min-jung (head coach of the women’s team) were handed lifetime bans from any involvement in Korean curling. The sanction from the Korean Curling Federation came long after a five-week government investigation that began in late 2018 and eventual admissions of unfair treatment and verbal and emotional abuse.
None of the members of Team Kim are related to the three curling coaches/officials.
Kim Kyung-doo was a longtime leader in Korean curling, and in addition to participating in the abuse, was found to have pocketed huge amounts of money while in charge of the Uiseong curling facility. The investigators learned that for five years starting in 2014, Kim misappropriated over U.S. $530,000, and there was circumstantial evidence of tax evasion.
After virtually vanishing from the global curling world following the 2017-18 curling season, Team Kim has steadily returned to the ice. The squad won the recent 2021 Korean women’s championship, held at the 2018 Olympic venue.