The movie production center owned by comedian-turned-director Shim Hyung-rae sold for W4 billion at auction, a district court in southern Seoul said on Monday (US$1=W1,106). Shim is broke after his latest films failed to make money.
The building that housed the production company, Younggu Art, was appraised at W3.72 billion and bought by a property developer, the only bidder. The money will be used to pay the back wages of 43 staff at Younggu Art and their W891 million severance pay. The rest will go to repaying Shim’s bank debts. A 244 sq. m luxury condominium owned by Shim has also been put up for auction.
Meanwhile, police said Monday that Shim is being investigated for embezzlement and other charges. He is suspected of embezzling W4.1 billion of company money for his personal use from 2008 to 2011.
Police are also investigating how he was able to get W4.2 billion of government funding which was used in the production of "The Last Godfather" in 2008-9. Shim is also accused of firing an illegally modified teargas pistol to threaten an investor who demanded repayment. Police have slapped a travel ban on Shim.