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Police grills Pigeon chairman over assault

Police questioned Lee Yoon-chai, chairman of Pigeon Corp., the nation’s second-largest maker of fabric conditioner, Wednesday on charges of ordering an assault on a former chief executive of his company.

A day earlier, investigators raided the headquarters of the company in Incheon, west of Seoul, to secure evidence.

According to Seoul Gangnam Police, Lee is suspected of paying 300 million won ($250,575) to gangsters to assault former CEO Lee Eun-wook. Lee was attacked on his way home in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, on Aug. 5.

The former CEO told police two men had been waiting for him at the entrance of his apartment and beat him severely, requiring him to be hospitalized for three weeks. He suspected chairman and founder Lee, who had fired him three months ago, masterminded the attack. He claimed that the assault was revenge for his revelation to the media of embezzlement, window dressing and other irregularities at the closed company. He also sued the company on July 17, asking for nullification of his dismissal.

Pigeon has hired and fired one CEO after another in a bid to regain its No. 1 market share but to no avail. Dismissed chief executives, including Lee Eun-wook, say that the company kept a fraudulent accounting system to raise slush funds for the chairman’s family.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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