On this day in auto history – April 28th

Wed 28th Apr 2021

It was on this day in 2006 that veteran Hyundai Motors Chairman, Chung Mong-Koo was arrested as part of a high-profile embezzlement and slush fund scandal.

The South Korean business magnate - the eldest surviving son of Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung - had been targeted by the Seoul Supreme Prosecutor’s Office for amassing a $100 million slush fund for personal use to pay lobbyists and politicians.

Though a visibly shaken Chung was surprisingly sentenced to three years in prison when the case originally went to trial in February 2007, he avoided jail when an appeal court controversially ruled he should only serve a suspended sentence.

The chief judge cited concerns over the "huge economic impact that could result from an imprisonment” as his reasoning for overturning the original sentence.

Though the court case damaged Hyundai’s corporate image and share price for a time, the South Korean behemoth recovered and Chung remains as chairman to this day with a shareholding of over 5% and an estimated personal fortune of over $7 billion.