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JoongAng Ilbo CEO Grilled over Slush Funds

Posted March. 05, 2008 07:17,   


Prosecutors questioned yesterday the CEO of the major daily JoongAng Ilbo, Hong Seok-hyun, over his alleged involvement in the Samsung Group slush fund scandal.

Hong, who is the brother-in-law of Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, was asked why his daily, which was the largest shareholder of Samsung Everland, did not purchase convertible bonds issued by the amusement park in December 1996, though the share price was much lower than the market value. This allowed Lee’s son Jae-yong to buy the bonds and become Everland’s biggest shareholder.

Hong denied that his daily is a de facto affiliate of Samsung, saying on his way to the investigation team’s office, “Those are false allegations. This probe will reveal the truth.”

Lee Jae-yong is also known to have told prosecutors Thursday that he did not phone Samsung Securities Vice President Kim Suk around the time he purchased the bonds, contradicting an earlier statement he had made during questioning.

dnsp@donga.com verso@donga.com