The Korea Herald


Chung’s donation draws attention to his presidential ambitions


Published : Aug. 16, 2011 - 19:43

    • Link copied

Former Grand National Party chairman and the country’s third-richest man Chung Mong-joon took a major step in his run-up to the presidential election next year by donating 200 billion won for charity.

Former Hyundai Group affiliates announced Tuesday that they will set up a 500 billion won ($467 million) foundation, 200 billion of which came from Chung’s private coffers, to help reduce social inequity and fuel corporate activities.

Chung’s confidants said the goal was to offer timely and necessary assistance that reflects the views of his father and Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung, and had nothing to do with the junior Chung’s presidential bid.

Nevertheless, the latest donation by the largest shareholder of Hyundai Heavy Industries left political observers wondering how he will take care of his controlling stake in the shipbuilder.

In 2002, Chung had talked about the possibility of putting the shipbuilding giant under someone else’s name as he threw his hat into the ring. His father Chung Ju-young had offered to donate part of his wealth for the development of political parties, housing for low-income families and support of small businesses when he ran for president in 1992.

Chung Mong-joon is set to make a more manifest step towards his presidential bid next early month by holding an event to celebrate the publication of his memoir and perhaps even a press conference before that.

In addition to his memoir, Chung plans to publish another book on his views of conservative values concerning the market and freedom.

He will also resume a tour across the country to give lectures highlighting his political vision. Previously, the tycoon mostly spoke about entrepreneurship in lectures to provincial university students.

Support ratings for Chung and other prospective presidential hopefuls within the GNP still lag far behind that of Park Geun-hye, the party’s ex-chairwoman who leads a faction which accounts for nearly a third of the GNP lawmakers.

By Kim So-hyun (