Cash-for-summit scandal

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Cash-for-summit is the name of a political scandal that broke in South Korea in February 2003 and revolved around the secret payment by the Kim Dae-jung administration to North Korea of 500,000,000 dollars to secure the landmark June 2000 North–South summit between the two Koreas.

The payment, worth 500,000,000 dollars, was criticized by right wing groups of South Korea in particular. Some of them claimed that Kim Dae-jung had "bought" his 2000 Nobel Peace Prize that he received following the diplomatically successful summit. According to Andrei Lankov, these accusations have a "kernel of truth", since Kim was known for never missing an opportunity to promote his lifelong political career.[1]

The alleged payment was 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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  1. ^ Lankov, Andrei (2015). The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 198. ISBN 978-0-19-939003-8. 

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