The son of a prominent International Olympic Committee official was indicted yesterday in federal court for lying to the FBI and using immigration documents knowingly obtained through fraudulent means.
Jung Hoon Kim, also known as John Kim, is the second person charged in connection with the Justice Department's eight-month investigation into the Salt Lake Olympic scandal. Kim's father, Un Yong Kim, a member of the IOC's 11-member executive board, could not be reached to comment.
Last month, a Salt Lake City businessman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor tax charge for covering up a phony employment arrangement with John Kim. The businessman, David E. Simmons, admitted the job was designed to gain lawful permanent residency status for Kim and to influence his father to vote to award the 2002 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City.
Ten IOC members were expelled or forced to resign for accepting cash and gifts in exchange for voting to award the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City. The elder Kim received a severe reprimand from the IOC, but was not expelled.
In a 16-count indictment returned yesterday in Brooklyn, John Kim was charged with using a green card obtained through an elaborate scheme that included sham agreements and invoices and the falsifying of documents to government labor and immigration agencies.
John Kim also was charged with making false statements to federal agents during a Feb. 23 interview that was part of the criminal investigation of the scandal. That charge was detailed in a one-count indictment returned in Salt Lake City. The 17 counts each carry a penalty of five to 15 years in prison.
John Kim's attorney, Howard Graff, said in a statement yesterday that his client denied all allegations of wrongdoing. Graff also said the indictment was expected and based on allegations made by Simmons "which have been inconsistent, illogical and untenable."
The indictments detail a complex arrangement involving John Kim, Simmons and the Salt Lake committee that bid for the Olympic Games. At the request of a Salt Lake bid official, Simmons hired John Kim, a South Korean national, to work for his company Keystone Communications, the indictments say. Simmons agreed to treat John Kim as a full-time salaried employee so he could obtain legal resident status, provided the Salt Lake City bid committee reimbursed Keystone for John Kim's salary if he performed no valuable services, according to the indictments.
John Kim's salary, initially paid at a rate of $50,000 per year and later increased to $70,383, was paid both by the bid committee and John Kim himself to keep his eligibility for a green card intact, the indictments say. The payments were "disguised and concealed through the use of sham `consulting' contracts and `video services' invoices," according to the indictments.
In a recent statement through a family spokesman, John Kim accused Simmons of making "inconsistent" allegations "to justify his business failures, scapegoating me in the process."
Of the alleged arrangement between Keystone and the Salt Lake City bid committee regarding his employment, John Kim said: "I never was party to it. . . . I never knew anything about it."
John Kim also announced his decision to file a lawsuit in Seoul, charging Simmons with fraud based on his statements to the Justice Department. The lawsuit was filed last week, according to Bill Schecter, the spokesman.
John Kim said he returned his green card to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul on Aug. 6 and that he rejected a plea agreement from federal prosecutors, saying in the statement, "I shall not yield to intimidation despite assurances that I can get a `slap on the wrist' in exchange for testimony . . ."
In the statement issued yesterday, Schecter said John Kim had no need for a job to ensure his legal residency status because he had been told by former bid committee president Tom Welch that his "immigration needs would be fully satisfied by influential and high officials."
Un Yong Kim was considered a candidate to succeed IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch before the scandal over the Olympic site selection process erupted last December.
The Internal Revenue Service and the Customs Service also are involved in the investigation.