By Emily Goddard

Kang Un-tae Gwangju mayorJuly 22 - Kang Un-tae, the Mayor of Gwangju, has apologised for the "shameful" forgery scandal that marred the South Korean city's awarding of the 2019 International Aquatics Federation (FINA) World Championships.

Kang is facing criminal charges for allegedly faking the signatures of both former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and former Culture Minister Choe Kwang-sik in a bid document that served as a financial guarantee from the Government for the aquatics showpiece.

Despite the embarrassment, Gwangju still won the hosting rights for the event only for the South Korean Government to withdraw its promise of financial support as punishment for the forgery.

"I deeply apologise for a shameful thing," said Kang, who also serves as co-chairman of the Gwangju 2015 Universiade.

"Discovered by the Prime Minister's Office on April 29, I was informed by South Korea's Bid Committee secretary general as he briefed me on the matter.

"In the process of submitting a bid document to FINA by April 2, a mistake by an official led to the signatures on the Government guarantee and contents to be altered."

gwangju 2019Gwangju was awarded the hosting rights for the 2019 FINA World Championships
despite the forgery scandal

He also promised to meet with Government officials to resolve the issue.

"I will successfully carry out the first ever [swimming] event hosted in Korea after I iron out conflict and mistrust with the Government," he added.

"I will ask for cooperation through a meeting with the Prime Minister and the [Culture] Minister."

The Prime Minister's office insists that it had not promised any financial support to the World Championships organisers and has ordered a full inquiry into the forgery allegations.

It warned of strict actions against anyone found guilty.

FINA was unavailable for comment.

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