Cash-for-summit scandal

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Cash-for-summit is the name of a political scandal that broke in February 2003 in South Korea and revolved around the secret payment by the Kim Dae-jung administration to North Korea of millions of dollars to secure the landmark June 2000 North-South summit between the two Koreas.

In 2000, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung participated in the first North-South presidential summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize. The former president faces allegations of forming an organizational lobby to assist him winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

The alleged payment of hundreds of millions of dollars were sent using Hyundai Asan as a conduit. Indicted in June 2003 for his role in the scandal, on charges of doctoring company books to hide the money transfers and facing up to three years in prison, Chung Mong-hun, the Chairman of Hyundai Asan and the son of the Hyundai chaebol founder Chung Ju Yung, fell to his death from the 12th floor of Hyundai's Seoul headquarters on August 4, 2003. Hyundai Asan is an unlisted company that spearheads South Korean business projects in North Korea.

Hyundai claimed the money was in payment for the company's monopoly rights to tourism and other projects in North Korea. But an independent investigation found the money included more than US$150 million in payments from the South Korean government that were linked to the landmark summit, although it stopped short of describing the payments as bribes.

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