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Kim Woo-joong Faces Arrest On Fraud Charges Worth 75 Trillion Won

Kim Woo-joong Faces Arrest On Fraud Charges Worth 75 Trillion Won

Posted May. 30, 2005 06:17,   


Kim Woo-joong (69), the former chairman of Daewoo Group who fled overseas for five years and seven months, recently told prosecutors that he was willing to come back to Korea, drawing keen attention to how investigation and punishment will be made against him when he returns home.

The Second Division of the Central Investigation Department of the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office, which investigated Daewoo Group’s accounting fraud in 2001, and which is now headed by Oh Gwang-soo, is making preparations for further investigations, reviewing relevant documents.

According to the arrest warrant against Kim Woo-joong, which was released in March 2001 regarding the management irregularities in Daewoo Group, he is charged of ordering a 41-trillion-won accounting fraud in five affiliate companies for three years since 1997, and illegally lending 10 trillion won from financial institutions on the basis of this accounting fraud.

Kim is suspected of making all-out lobbying efforts, along with Daewoo Group officials, on politicians and government officials in preventing the company from being forced out of the market.

He is also charged with taking out 25 trillion won overseas through the British Finance Center (BFC), Daewoo’s secret financial organization in the United Kingdom, by not collecting export credits.

The former Daewoo chairman disappeared after attending the completion ceremony of Daewoo Motors’ auto parts factory in Yentai, China in 1999, and the indictment against him has been suspended since May 2001.

The prosecution plans to take Kim Woo-joong into custody right after he returns Korea and investigate how he directed the accounting fraud, why he received illegal loans, and where he used his slush fund.

Kim Woo-joong is currently under indictment suspension, against whom an arrest warrant has already been issued. Given that most of the other relevant officials involved underwent actual punishment, it seems that Kim should also be taken into custody for further investigations. He is advanced in age, and his health is deteriorating, but all these conditions are likely to be taken into account once he is arrested.

This is the fourth time that Kim Woo-joong has told prosecutors he wanted to return home. Prosecutors believe he might be just gauging public opinion and the prosecution’s commitment once again this time.

“We are making necessary preparations, but we are not sure whether he will come back or not,” said a prosecutor.

However, a Daewoo Group official asserted that “former Chairman Kim really means to come back to Korea this time.”