Sambu CEO tries ploy to find his former confidant

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Sambu CEO tries ploy to find his former confidant

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Yang Jae-hyeok

Yang Jae-hyeok, former CEO of Sambu Finance, the Busan-based capital venture firm that went bust in 1999, intentionally “went missing” as part of efforts to locate his former confidant now on the run.

The Busan Yeongje Police Precinct reported yesterday that the former CEO told investigators he went into hiding as part of a ploy to find the former accounting manager surnamed Ha, 63, who is on the wanted list for embezzlement charges.

The police reported that Yang told his family members to report him missing in July. Yang told investigators he thought the authorities would begin a hunt for Ha on suspicion that he was behind Yang’s disappearance. Yang’s brother reported him missing on July 19.

Following the report, the police found CCTV footage of Yang shopping in Daegu later that month, prompting them to suspect that Yang purposefully went into hiding.

The police also found a trace of the 58-year-old former capital firm CEO by confirming that he called one of his former investors with a public phone near Busan Station on Oct. 3.

Yang moved from one motel to another in Busan and other cities in South Gyeongsang during his three-month long hideout.

The police found Yang at a cafe in Busan on Monday when a worker at the coffee shop called the police reporting he saw the person believed to be Yang after he saw his face on a missing-person poster.

After being taken to a police station, Yang told the police the fugitive was in charge of managing 220 billion won ($199.5 million) in assets for Sambu Finance. Ha has been on the lam and on the wanted list for embezzling corporate assets since April last year.

During questioning, Yang told investigators that he handed down all of his assets to Ha, then Yang’s close confidant, while serving a four and a half year prison term for embezzling 110 billion won in the early part of the last decade to start a new business.

After Yang was released from jail, he discovered Ha personally appropriated the funds that Yang had given him. Yang was quoted as saying by his associates, “Ha has real estate and cash that total up to 400 billion won,” according to Yonhap. The police are now considering imposing misdemeanor charges against Yang for his fraudulent missing persons report.

By Kang Jin-kyu [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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