Northern Beef subject of federal investigation

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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ABERDEEN, SD – Federal investigators are scrutinizing the finances and a federal immigration program behind funding for the idled Northern Beef Packers plant in Aberdeen, according to an Associated Press report.

At issue is the processing firm's financial dealings and the federal EB-5 program, which encourages foreign investment in exchange for qualifications to secure permanent residency. The plant is 41-percent owned by businessman Oshik Song along with 69 other South Korean investors who each paid at least $500,000 under the EB-5 program.

Questions also remain as to whether the Northern Beef Packers probe is linked to possible financial misconduct by the state's economic development office. A top official at the agency, Richard Benda, was found dead from a gunshot wound on Oct. 22. Benda was Northern Beef's former loan monitor.

Northern Beef Packers struggled to acquire money to operate at full capacity. The plant filed for protection under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Based on court documents, the plant is now facing $138.8 million in liabilities and has just $79.3 million in assets. Lawyers for the company have asked that a minimum bid of $12.75 million be set for the beef processing facility.
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