The prosecution's investigation into Kim Ki-moon, the chairman of the Korea Federation of SMEs (KBIZ), who is suspected of having been involved in a bribery scandal during the election for the KBIZ chairman in February is in full swing. Kim is also the chairman of fashion brand Jestina.
Prosecutors launched an investigation into Kim's alleged vote-buying and related cases on July 1.
Chairman Kim is suspected of pre-election campaigning and bribery, offering gifts and meals to voters in Bucheon, Suwon and other cities from November to December last year ahead of the election for KBIZ chairman held in February.
In February, the Seoul Seongbuk Police Station is investigating a case in which a close aide to Kim paid bribes to a journalist. Kim loses his status as chairman of KBIZ if he is sentenced to more than "probation" in a case where he is indicted as a suspect.
The family of Kim, the owner of Jestina, is also on the prosecution's investigation list on charges of unfair trading of Jestina shares.
Kim's children and Kim's younger brother, Kim Ki-seok, are suspected of disposing of their own shares in Jestina, using undisclosed information, before the negative publicity about the operating deficit came out.
Kim's younger brother and two children sold about 550,000 shares of Jestina worth 5 billion won from late January to Feb. 12 this year.
Kim, who founded the indigenous watch company Romanson in 1988, changed his company name to Jestina in 2016 thanks to the popularity of Jestina, a jewelry brand launched in 2003.
The brand began to be known in Korea when iconic figure skater Yuna Kim was chosen as a model and the brand became very popular during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics as Kim wore the product.
In 2014, he sponsored the production of the KBS drama "Descendants of the Sun," starring Song Hye-kyo, while using Song as a model, becoming a popular brand among high-income Chinese people.