‘Nut Rage’ Family Matriarch Convicted of Assault, Yonhap Says
(Bloomberg) -- More than a year after being charged with assaulting employees, the matriarch of the family that controls Korean Air Lines Co. received a suspended jail sentence, adding to the string of rage-related scandals that made her two daughters infamous.
The Seoul Central District Court on Tuesday sentenced Lee Myung-hee, 70, to a suspended two-year prison term as the victims didn’t want to push for punishment after she acknowledged responsibility for her actions, the Yonhap News Agency reported, citing the judgment. She was instead ordered to do 80 hours of community service.
Lee is the mother of Walter Cho, the chairman of Hanjin Kal Corp. -- the holding company that controls the carrier and whose businesses also span logistics and hotels. Lee couldn’t be contacted, while a representative for Hanjin couldn’t comment as she doesn’t hold a title in the group.
The Cho family has been embroiled in numerous controversies, including what became known as the “nut rage” incident, when Cho’s older sister, Heather, ordered a departing Korean Air Lines flight back to the gate after she was served macadamia nuts in a bag rather than a bowl. Younger sister, Emily, was fired from her job as a Korean Air Lines vice president after facing public criticism for allegedly throwing water at an advertising agency worker’s face during a business meeting.
Accused of assaulting workers including a driver and a security guard, Lee’s case headed to the court in December 2018.
Walter Cho took over the helm of the group after his father’s death in April last year, but Heather challenged his ascension, leading to a family feud over control of the group and a failed attempt to remove him from the top post. Walter himself has displayed some anger issues. Earlier this year, he apologized for smashing a vase at his mother’s home on Christmas Day during an argument over the company’s leadership and his older sister’s role.
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