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Hyundai to Dismiss Kim Yun-gyu

Posted August. 09, 2005 03:07,   


The Hyundai Group has decided to dismiss Hyundai Asan Corp. vice chairman Kim Yun-gyu from the position of CEO of Hyundai Asan Corp for corruption in the process of promoting the Mt. Geumgang tour project.

On top of that, it was also confirmed that high-ranking government officials, including Cheong Wa Dae, had already been aware of Kim’s personal corruption and the specific details through the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

This indicates that the government is not viewing Kim’s personal corruption as mere a Hyundai Group’s matter, taking into account that the Mt. Geumgang tour project has been supported by the government’s budget.

According to an official of the Hyundai Group on August 8, in a senior executives meeting held in the building of Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. in Jeokseon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, on the morning of the same day, Hyun Jeong-eun, the chairwoman of that group, said, “Since the fact that Kim committed personal corruption was revealed, I will make Kim step down from his post through additional confirmation.”

The official also quoted Hyun as saying, “Even if Kim is dismissed from the position of CEO of Hyundai Asan, I am reviewing a measure in which Kim will stay in office as a vice chairman so that he can play a certain role in pushing ahead with projects to North Korea.”

A senior executive of Hyundai Group said, “Hyun’s action is to give Kim an opportunity to resign honorably,” adding, “Now Hyun and the Hyundai Group’s candid positions are that Kim will express his intention to step down voluntarily.”

After coming to his office at the dawn of the same day and immediately getting out of the company, Kim made no response to any outside contacts.

An aide of Kim said, “Currently, Kim is in a rage, labeling the allegations of him as ‘an intrigue hatched up by opponents within the company.’” However, the aide also added, “Kim expressed his position in which if Hyun decided to dismiss Kim, Kim would follow the decision.”

Meanwhile, a government official said, “The government had obtained an internal inspection report on Hyundai Group through the NIS at the end of last month,” adding, “The government officials related to projects involving North Korea might have been informed of these facts.”

Joong-Hyun Park Sung-Won Joo sanjuck@donga.com swon@donga.com