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Who is Lobbyist Kim?

Posted March. 28, 2006 08:25,   


Lobbyist and ex-Investus Global CEO Kim Jae-rok’s many acquaintances are well documented, but so far, his educational background and career path remain a mystery.

Kim, who was born in Yeonggwang County in South Jeolla Province, graduated from Kumho Technical High School located in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province in February 1977. Kim claims that he then graduated from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and earned an MBA degree from Stanford University. But his name is reportedly not on the membership lists of either school’s alumni associations.

Kim handled restructuring claims as a vice chairman with Arthur Andersen Korea. But he is not an expert in this field. Reports are pouring in of suspicious surrounding his career.

Kim is said to have talked to his acquaintances, saying, “I joined “Tongchu,” one of the factions that split from the Kim Dae-jung camp.”

Kim was named a political advisor after joining the New Korea Party in 1996.

After that, he was assigned as director of the Kia Economic Research Institute in September 1997. In November shortly before the presidential elections, he joined the Kim Dae-jung camp. He started to get acquainted with high-ranking politicians by being responsible for campaign strategic planning. During that time, he got to know Finance and Economy Minister Lee Hun-jai.

Kim became vice president with Arthur Andersen Korea (AAK) in late 1997 after working for “S” accounting firm. Since then, the company has ranked first in its field.

It has taken the lion’s share of major projects such as restructuring and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) including work for Daewoo Motors, Ssangyong Motor and a variety of insolvent enterprises under the policy on restructuring led by the government.

Despite his young age then, he was very influential and got along with high-ranking financial officials such as the Finance and Economy minister and the chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission.

Some observers said that he could be powerful at that time thanks to his relationship with Kim Dae-jung’s son.

One official who were deeply involved in the work of restructuring said, “Mr. Kim showed off making friends such as influential politicians including Kim Dae-jung’s son,” and added, “This is the main reason why the Ministry of Finance and Economy and the Financial Supervisory Service officials succumbed to Mr. Kim.

When he worked for AAK, high-ranking politicians and financial officials’ children including sons of former Deputy Prime Minister Jin Nyum and Kim Jin-Pyo joined this company.

Even Kim Dae-jung’s nephew and former director of the Korea Deposit Insurance Corporate (KDIC) were appointed as advisors, and a former lawmaker was brought into chairman of AAK.

Relations to the Hyundai-Kia Motor Group –

It is generally said that Mr. Kim has sharply lost his power since then-President’s sons were arrested in the last stage of DJ government. But still many remains deeply suspicious of why the Hyundai-Kia Motor Group allowed Mr. Kim to lobby politicians.

Financial sectors pay attention to the fact that Kim, in line with Hyundai-Kia Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo camp, strongly supports Chung Mong-koo by submitting a report regarding Hyundai Motor’s growth potential, in 2000 when a management scuffles among sons of Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-young burst out.

AAK and Investus Global received a consulting project of the Hyundai-Kia Motor Group between 2000 and 2004 and received billions of won. In this process, Mr. Kim was viewed as a trouble-solving broker. His influential role might motivate prosecutors to start to work on the Hyundai-Kia Motor Group’s slush fund.