[EDITORIALS]Questions on Hyundai's loan

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[EDITORIALS]Questions on Hyundai's loan

Just as the once historic Mount Geumgang tour is stagnating, Hyundai Merchant Marine and Hyundai Asan are in the eye of allegations that they secretly funneled funds to North Korea. If so, it suggests a new kind of corruptive link between the government and business. Considering that the Hyundai Group and independent Hyundai companies have continuously been the target of rumors of preferential treatment from this administration in return for their taking the initiative in the North Korean project, the matter needs to be looked into.

The allegations are shrouded in clouds. Hyundai Merchant Marine claims that the 490 billion won ($400 million) loan was used to redeem maturing bonds, and that it did not assist its sister, Hyundai Asan. But why did the group put aside its main creditor bank to go instead to the Korea Development Bank?

It also has been revealed that Hyundai companies added 450 billion won to the capital of Hyundai Asan right before the loan by the Korea Development Bank. Hyundai Asan itself increased its capital even in the financial difficutlties it faced. Had it not been for the government's strong intervention, this capital increase would have been unrealistic. It is not difficult to imagine that the then-governor of the Korea Development Bank, Uhm Rak-ryong, met with the third deputy director of the National Intelligence Service and other senior government officials at the Blue House over this issue, being aware that the loan could not be recovered and that the consequences of default would have been serious.

The Hyundai allegations are not a matter of just one company, but relate to inter-Korean relations. Senior government officials deny knowing anything or holding any such Blue House meeting. Hyundai Asan's chief, Chung Mong-hun, is abroad, ignoring the National Assembly's request to appear before it. Hyun-dai should come forth and disclose the truth for its own future and that of inter-Korean relations.
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