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Friday, April 28, 2006

Hyundai CEO arrested on embezzlement, bribery charges in South Korea
Jaime Jansen at 3:04 PM ET

[JURIST] South Korean prosecutors in Seoul arrested Hyundai Motors Group [corporate website] CEO Chung Mong-koo [Wikipedia backgrounder] Friday on charges of embezzlement, misappropriation and bribery. Prosecution spokesman Kang Chan-woo made the arrest announcement shortly after Seoul District Court Judge Lee Jong-seok issued an arrest warrant. Authorities were concerned because of the “heavy” nature of the allegations and the fear that Chung would destroy evidence. Prosecutor-General Choung Sang-myoung approved Chung’s arrest [JURIST report] Thursday. The Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office [official website, in Korean] alleges that Chung used his position [JURIST report] to profit illegally in business deals, pervert the course of justice, and influence elected government officials. Prosecutors will continue to investigate Chung during his detention before issuing an indictment, giving them 20 days to do so under South Korean law.

Prosecutors suspect Chung of embezzling $106 million in company money to create a slush fund and used it through at least two lobbyists to seek favors from the government. The lobbyists have also been arrested on charges of taking bribes from Hyundai in exchange for helping the company win construction permits and other business favors. Prosecutors have also investigated Chung's son, Kia Motors [corporate website] President Chung Eui-sun on related charges, but they have not arrested him. AP has more. South Korea's Chosun Ilbo has local coverage.

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