A former construction firm chairman accused of embezzling government subsidies disappeared Thursday, leaving behind a suicide note.
Sung Wan-jong, a former chairman of Keangnam Enterprises Co., Ltd, was last seen at his home at 5:10 a.m. Sung's son notified police after finding a suicide note apparently written by Sung.
Sung was scheduled to show up for a court hearing later Thursday that would determine whether he would be put under arrest.
Police officials deployed up to 500 officers to Pyeongchang-dong, a district in northwestern Seoul, and its surrounding areas to look for Sung. Police said Sung's phone was last reported in the area according to telecommunications signals.
Police also found closed-circuit television camera recordings showing Sung climbing the mountains near the Pyeongchang-dong police office.
Prosecutors earlier this week charged the former executive of obtaining government subsidies of up to 46 billion won (S$57 million) based on doctored accounting records. Authorities suspect Sung embezzled some of those funds.
The subsidies were given to Keangnam Enterprises as part of the Lee Myung-bak administration's resource diplomacy policy - a government initiative aimed at boosting South Korea's investments in overseas energy projects.
Sung repeatedly denied the claims.
Sung's disappearance also comes amid parliamentary probes into the Lee administration's resource diplomacy policy.
The probes began to investigate allegations that Lee administration officials embezzled public funds during the government initiative.