Ex-STX Group chief resummoned over alleged graft

By 김지현
  • Published : Apr 6, 2014 - 13:48
  • Updated : Apr 6, 2014 - 13:48

Prosecutors resummoned the former head of the financially troubled shipping and shipbuilding conglomerate STX Group on Sunday for questioning over his alleged embezzlement and business malpractice.

Kang Duk-soo, who headed the group between 2003 and February 2014, is accused of funneling the funds of STX Heavy Industries, a troubled shipbuilder unit, to illegally support other ailing affiliates and misappropriating company money to bribe politicians.

The 64-year-old former chairman appeared at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office in southern Seoul around 10 a.m. to undergo further questioning over his alleged bribing of politicians, prosecutors said.

It is the second summons of the business tycoon in three days. On Friday, prosecutors grilled him for about 15 hours.

 A prosecution investigation into Kang was launched in February when the company filed a complaint against the group's five former executives, including Kang.

STX Group, once the country's 13th-biggest conglomerate with a total of 10 affiliates under its wing, has seen its major affiliates struggle from liquidity shortages and mounting debt due to the downturn in the shipbuilding and shipping sectors.

Kang, who began his career as a salaried worker at a cement company, expanded STX Group into one of the country's biggest conglomerates through corporate mergers and acquisitions. He, however, resigned from the top post in February 2014, saying that he would take responsibility for his mismanagement.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, said they are looking into the possibility that Lee Hee-beom, a former commerce minister who was chairman of STX Heavy Industries and STX Energy from 2010-12, might have played a role in Kang's alleged lobbying of politicians.

Believing that Lee, who currently serves as vice chairman of LG International Corp., should undergo questioning, the prosecution is reviewing the appropriate timing of his summons, they added.