Prosecutors Want 'Nut Rage' Exec Arrested

Officials say Heather Cho broke the law after she freaked over macadamias
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2014 7:53 AM CST
Prosecutors Look to Arrest Korean Air 'Nut Rage' Exec
In this Dec. 12, 2014, file photo, Cho Hyun-ah, who was head of cabin service at Korean Air and the oldest child of Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho, speaks to the media.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, FIle)

Despite her tears and public apologies, former Korean Air exec Cho Hyun-ah is facing criminal charges from South Korean prosecutors over her meltdown on a Dec. 5 flight out of New York, the BBC reports. According to a government investigation, Cho (also known as Heather Cho) became enraged when a flight attendant brought her macadamia nuts in a bag, not on a plate, so she screamed at him and demanded the plane be brought back to the gate to dump him. The crew chief also talked to local media and said that Cho cursed him out and jabbed him with a document folder, Reuters reports. Although Cho, the daughter of Korean Air CEO Cho Yang-ho, has since resigned from all posts, notes CNN, Seoul officials want to charge her with inflight violence and changing a flight route, the Guardian reports.

Other people could also face repercussions: A current exec with the airline with the surname Yeo is being investigated for alleged attempts to cover up what happened, the Guardian notes; when the flight attendant in question was interviewed for the investigation, Yeo sat right next to him. And it hasn't gone unnoticed that most of the transport ministry officials now looking into the case have been employed by Korean Air at some point; separately, the BBC notes that one official was arrested today for allegedly leaking details of the investigation to Korean Air. A detention warrant for Cho was requested this morning, meaning the court thinks the accused might skip town or mar evidence, Reuters notes. (One fringe benefit of "Nutgate": Macadamia sales in South Korea have surged.)

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