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Kim Woo-joong to Be Arrested as Soon as He Enters Korea

Posted June. 13, 2005 06:32,   


Former Daewoo Group Chairman Kim Woo-joong is reported to be returning to Korea around June 14. According to people close to the former Chairman Kim, who was been on the run for five years and eight months abroad, is already in Southeast Asia, close to Korea, and if nothing special arises he will arrive to Korea via Incheon International Airport on the morning of June 14.

A prosecution official also said, “It is very possible that former Chairman Kim will return this week.”

An arrest warrant was already been issued to former Chairman Kim in March of 2001 when he was abroad, but his indictment was suspended in May of the same year, meaning that his case would be deferred until his whereabouts were known.

Therefore, an investigation with Kim under arrest seems inevitable. That is because the charges against him, which include accounting fraud, are quite serious even considering his old age and fragile health. The prosecution is also stressing an “investigation that follows the law and principles.”

There are some rumors that upon his arrival, he will be moved into a hospital rather than the prosecution’s building, but the prosecution is flatly denying such reports, saying, “That would be totally inappropriate.”

Some mention the possibility of bail, but bail is only allowed after one is legally indicted. The prosecution plans to use all 20 days of its allowed detention to investigate him and then indict him.

It seems that former Chairman Kim will have a chance to speak when he arrives in Korea. A prosecution official said, “A press conference might be difficult, but we don’t think it’s necessary to stop him from simply saying his position.”

The prosecution plans to investigate whether the window dressing that amounted up to 41 trillion won between 1997~1998, and illegal loans that amount to 10 trillion won, were ordered by Kim. Regarding this, there are former Daewoo Group board members that received rulings from the Supreme Court, so the matter will be easily settled.

The tricky part is whether former Chairman Kim scattered a tremendous amount of illegal funds in the process of trying to stop the dissolution of Daewoo Group. A prosecution official said, “The three-year prescription on charges of violating political fund laws has already been terminated. But shouldn’t we investigate all suspicions related to former Chairman Kim?”

Kim attended the opening of an automobile part manufacturing plans in Yantai, China, in October of 1999, when the workout on the Daewoo Group was gaining speed, and disappeared afterwards and has been hiding abroad. But recently, his health has deteriorated and he has been under treatment.

On the other hand, it is reported that the wife of former Chairman Kim, Chung Hee-ja, who left on June 8 and is currently staying in Venice, Italy, will move to another European city on June 12 and return to Korea on June 14 separately from Kim via Incheon International Airport.

Keuk-In Bae bae2150@donga.com