Prosecutors seek to detain ex-KDB head in bribe case

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Prosecutors seek to detain ex-KDB head in bribe case

Prosecutors on Wednesday requested a pretrial detention warrant for Kang Man-soo, the 71-year-old former chairman of Korea Development Bank (KDB) who stands accused of receiving bribes worth more than 100 million won ($89,600) from Hansung Enterprise, which is run by his high schoolmate, among other bribery and corporate malpractice charges.

After questioning Kang on Monday, prosecutors said on Wednesday that from 2008, Kang directly and indirectly received bribes from his schoolmate, Im Woo-geun, CEO of Hansung Enterprise.

“The money Kang received from Hansung Enterprise was likely in return for favors,” said a prosecution official.

Kang was the minister of strategy and finance from 2008 to 2009, and chairman of KDB from 2011 to 2013. Prosecutors suspect Kang was bribed in return for providing favors and lobbying on behalf of Hansung Enterprise.

For one, in 2011, KDB provided loans worth some 24 billion won to the company.

Upon his retirement in 2013, Kang was named adviser to Hansung Enterprise, from which time he is suspected to have received bribes to pay for his international travels, golfing trips and even to cover costs in managing his office.

Prosecutors said Kang directly received some of the bribes in cash.

Kang is also accused of pressuring Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) to sign a research deal with a biotech company run by his close aide during his tenure as KDB chairman.

KDB holds nearly half of DSME’s shares.

DSME in 2012 promised 5.5 billion won worth of investment to the biotech firm.

The financial transaction was halted in mid-2013 upon Kang’s retirement. By then, 4.4 billion won had been invested by DSME.

Prosecutors suspect the former chairman had abused his influence because the partnership, aimed at developing bioethanol production techniques using marine algae, was irrelevant to Daewoo’s main field of work.

Kang’s summoning and the prosecution’s request for a detention warrant are the latest developments in the probe surrounding DSME and KDB, launched in March with massive media coverage when the Financial Supervisory Service accused DSME of faking accounting records to take out around 45 trillion won in loans from KDB.

Before entering the prosecutors’ office on Monday, Kang had told reporters, “I’ve never done anything shameful while in public service.”

BY HYUN IL-HOON [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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