Hyundai apologises amid scandal
Hyundai said it would set up a committee to police its own ethics
Hyundai has made a public apology and pledged to donate assets to
charity amid a widening probe into alleged corruption at the Korean car
The firm, which is being investigated by prosecutors
over claims of illegal political lobbying, said it would fully
co-operate with the inquiry.
Hyundai said its chairman Chung Mong-Koo and his son would set aside assets worth 1 trillion won ($1bn).
“We bow to the people and apologise,” the firm said in a statement.
Prosecutors are investigating claims that Hyundai operated a multi-million dollar slush fund to bribe government officials.
Two lobbyists have been arrested on suspicion of
receiving money from the car company, although it is unclear whether
they actually sought to pay government officials.
The Hyndai Motor Group failed to meet its social obligations and caused concern to the people
Investigators have questioned several company bosses
and, according to media reports, may soon interview both Mr Chung and
his son Chung Eui-Sun, president of subsidiary Kia Motors.
In an act of public penance and to restore confidence in
the firm’s activities, Hyundai said Mr Chung and his son would donate
their 60% stake in Glovis, another subsidiary, to charity.
Glovis, a logistics unit, has been at the centre of the investigation.
“The Hyndai Motor Group, which should have set an
example for society, failed to meet its social obligations and caused
concern to the people,” the firm said.
“The Hyundai Motor staff humbly accept the reproaches
from the people. We will faithfully carry out our social obligations,
keep to ethical standards and establish a transparent management
Hyundai shares rallied after the disclosure, with
investors believing the move may result in a more transparent company
Korean firm Samsung pursued a similar course of action
in February, donating $800m in assets to a public fund after being
embroiled in a number of scandals.