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Prosecutors to summon Kumho Petrochemical chief in slush fund probe

Prosecutors will summon the president of Korea Kumho Petrochemical Co., the petrochemical unit of Kumho Asiana Group, sometime next week for questioning over allegations that his company raised billions of won in slush funds through illicit transactions, officials said Thursday.

Park Chan-koo, a younger brother of Kumho Asiana Group Chairman Park Sam-koo, is suspected of having created the slush funds by paying more money than actual costs to subcontractors and pocketing the returned difference. The brothers have been in conflict over control of the group in 2009, which led both of them to resign from their posts.
Park Chan-koo
Park Chan-koo

The younger Park resumed his post in March last year.

Prosecutors raided the company’s headquarters in downtown Seoul and three other affiliates’ offices on Tuesday to confiscate accounting documents and computer drives and imposed an overseas travel ban on Park Chan-koo.

The investigators said they will summon officials in charge of the company’s financial affairs first and then call the president.

“We will summon officials of Kumho Petrochemical as soon as we finish analyzing the confiscated materials,” said an official from the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office, adding that the summons of the financial officials will be made over the weekend or early next week.

The younger Park will be summoned sometime next weekend after the inquiry on the officials is completed, he said.

Some say that the prosecution also obtained circumstantial evidence showing that the younger Park purchased Kumho Petrochemical stock with the slush funds when he returned to his post.

The Kumho Asiana Group, which is comprised of Kumho Industrial Co., Korea Kumho Petrochemical Co., Asiana Airlines Inc. and Kumho Tire Co., faced a severe credit crunch in late 2009 touched off by its purchase of major local builder Daewoo Engineering & Construction in 2006. 

(Yonhap News)
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