The feud between the two brothers of the Kumho family has been reignited, after Kumho Petrochemical chairman Park Chan-koo recently accused his elder brother, Kumho Asiana Group chairman Park Sam-koo, of breach of trust.
According to the prosecution on Wednesday, the younger Park submitted a complaint last month, accusing his brother of involvement in dumping the commercial paper of Kumho Industrial and Kumho Tire worth about 420 billion won ($410 million) to the group’s other affiliates in December 2009 ― right before the two companies filed for debt workout.
“After acquiring the CP, the affiliates struggled financially and their credit ratings were also downgraded,” said a Kumho Petrochemical official.
But Kumho Asiana Group rebuffed the allegation, saying it was an old issue and there was nothing new.
“The CP sell-off was decided after discussions with creditors. The group could avoid bankruptcy due to the decision,” said an official from Kumho Asiana Group.
The official also denied chairman Park Sam-koo’s involvement in the decision, saying he resigned in July 2009 before returning to management in November 2010.
The renewed legal dispute between the two brothers is the latest amid their deepening conflicts since 2009 when they fought to secure more power to control the nation’s 17th-largest conglomerate in terms of assets.
Since the late founding chairman Park In-cheon established a taxi service company in 1946, the Kumho Asiana Group has expanded its presence into construction, tire, aviation, logistics and leisure areas.
Despite the relatively peaceful power succession to their elder brothers, the third and fourth sons have been at odds, resulting in the separation of Kumho Petrochemical, along with Kumho Mitsui Chemicals and Kumho Polychem, in 2010.
But the brothers have not stopped their feud since then. In the first half of this year alone, they exchanged three legal cases against each other.
In February, the elder Park accused the brother’s driver for stealing information about his private schedule.
In March, when Park Sam-koo was named director of the board of Asiana Airlines, the younger brother filed a lawsuit to nullify the designation.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)