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Kim Woo-jung’s Homecoming Just Days Away, Where Will the Investigations Lead

Kim Woo-jung’s Homecoming Just Days Away, Where Will the Investigations Lead

Posted June. 03, 2005 07:00,   


Kim Woo-jung (69), the ex-chairman of the Daewoo Group, is about to make his return to Korea since fleeing abroad five years and eight months ago.

Kim’s homecoming is expected to take place around early next week, according to sources gathered from the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office (SPPO) and Kim’s close associates. One official at the prosecution said on June 2, “I hear that Kim is preparing his return home. But it’s likely that it won’t happen during the three-day holiday (June 4 to 6).”

Kim’s close aides appear to be having a busy time themselves, getting ready for his return. There are rumors that a “homecoming preparation team,” based on former executives of the old Daewoo Group, has been established. An aide of Kim said, “There is no point in postponing the process, since his decision to return has been finalized.”

The prosecution is expected to summon Kim to the Public Prosecutors’ Office and resume its investigations as soon as he arrives. An arrest warrant for Kim has already been issued, and the obligation to report on arrival will allow the prosecution to seize Kim and carry out investigations right away.

A related official at the prosecution said, “It’s impossible for Kim to arrive secretly,” adding, “On his arrival, the investigators waiting at the airport will escort him to the Prosecutors’ Office.”

Since last week, the Prosecutors’ Office is gathering all information on Daewoo-related cases, formerly scattered between the SPPO Central Investigation Department and the Department of Public Fund Scandals, to re-evaluate past investigation records. Prosecutors who took part during the 2001 Daewoo crisis are also getting themselves involved.

Some believe Kim will later be released on bail, while acknowledging that it would be hard for him to escape arrest altogether given the current public opinion against him.

A close associate of Kim said, “Kim has undergone six surgeries, suffering from diseases such as intestinal stenosis and brain tumor, and is even at a state where he’s unable to stand up without someone’s help,” noting, “The biggest cause for his return has to do with health issues.”

Kim`s loan fraud indictments were suspended in May 2001, under charges for committing loan fraud in the amount of 9.2 trillion won, facilitated by window-dressing 41 trillion won at a financial company.

He is also under charges for allowing an outflow of foreign currency amounting up to $20 billion dollars (20 trillion won) by not retrieving export earnings in collaboration with the British Finance Center (BFC), a clandestine financial organization in London run by the London branch of Daewoo.

Allegations of Kim’s lobbying towards political authorities during his efforts to block the Daewoo Group’s forced retirement have been raised, and whether these will be clarified is another point of continuing interest.