This is my birthday month so I will try to get out some bonus chapters to celebrate it.
The aftermath of high-interest rates led to a number of companies filing for bankruptcy and the major domestic corporations announcing their restructuring plans on the news. The news also reported that the major corporations were liquidating their foreign branch properties to reduce overhead, prioritizing their head offices. Not a day went by quietly at the end of January 1998, and Japan, considering Korea’s serious financial crisis as an opportunity, broke fishing agreements from their side.
While the exchange rate had fallen to 1500 won, this was a temporary illusion created by the International Monetary Fund negotiations.
My daily routine began with reading the newspapers to confirm how history was changing with my intervention. The major flow had not changed from the previous history, but minor details were different now.
For example, foreign firms were purchasing Korean real estate quickly. While Jeonil had advanced the date by six months with the promise of large investments, I could see names I had not read in the domestic real estate market in the past.
[Foreign firms such as Jeonil Investments, DP Krump, Deutsche Bundesbank, GOA, and the Bluestone Group are purchasing domestic real estate.]
GOA, ANG Bearing, Silverman Fox, Standard Bank, and the Bluestone Group had been the first flight of eagles who had come to loot a burning country in the previous history. However, DP Krump and Deutsche Bundesbank had not been included. They had been more focused on acquiring firms rather than buying real estate, and they would have been active in Korea from the second quarter of this year when domestic firms failed to survive the flames. The government was buying time by deciding which companies would be allowed to survive, manipulating the commercial tax rates to let smaller companies fail, while the big corporations were allowed to survive, the rationale being they employed more people.
They had aggressively entered the domestic real estate market from the first quarter. The reason was obvious, which was that they were trying to recoup their losses. They had all lost big on my Hong Kong bet and would have lost a lot in Thailand’s and Hong Kong’s future foreign exchange market.
There were two facts I was certain of in the ongoing Asian financial crisis. Those large financial firms had all attacked Asia countries and also suffered much more loss than gains. I had a large portion of the dollars they had used so aggressively, so the firms would be desperate to get as much as they could from Korea, which they had cultivated for a long time.
In the past, those firms would have thought of Korea as the land of gold and honey, but now they just wanted to make up for their losses. Well, it was true that the entire country was for sale if one only had enough dollars.
Daehwan Cho had a close relationship with Chungsik Park from the beginning, as they went to the same high school and university. Also, Daehwan Cho’s eldest son had married Chungsik Park’s youngest daughter, so they were related as inlaws.
They began to call each other by different names after joining the ranks of the powerful, which was their way of celebrating their newfound good fortune. Of course, the reason that Daewhan Cho began to call Chungsik Park as Director Park was due to Jamie’s decision to hire Chungsik Park and Daehwan Cho for Jeonil, and that carried over naturally into their private lives. One did not know when the dollar would become the center of power, but given Korea’s financial crisis, it wouldn’t take long until foreign money took over the country. They had merely joined the winning side.
“Regarding Pyeongdong Construction, the Senior Secretary of Civil Affairs is nagging me constantly. Isn’t Secretary Cheolmin Kim your university alumnus, Director Park?”
Daehwan Cho and Chungsik Park were drinking in their favorite private room at their favorite restaurant.
“He called me three times today. Why is he working so hard when his term ends next month?”
“Please let him be. He has to be busy. He’s going for the general election at Gangnam.”
“He should just stay quiet when public opinion is like this.”
“You’re right. So, what about Pyeongdong? Does the estimate work?”
Daehwan Cho held his glass. Even before Jamie had expanded Jeonil’s horizon to include firm buyouts, major firms, including Pyeongdong Construction, had been his close clients. He had worked as an executive director in the best accounting firm in Korea and had gone in as counsel when Pyeongdong Construction had bought International Construction in the late eighties. So, he knew them well.
Chungsik Park read Daehwan Cho’s complicated expression and smiled with wrinkles in his eyes.
“I do not owe Cheolmin any favors, so I’ll just go by the rules. There are so many companies like Pyeongdong these days.”
“He has connections in the cabinet even if he does not win the next general election.”
“Do you know that his nickname is the Eel?”
Cheolmin Kim would inevitably slither his way up, and Daehwan Cho heard Chungsik Park’s voice brighten. While he had said to go by the rules, those were his actual thoughts. Daehwan Cho asked a question.
“Why did he call me directly and not through you?”
“He’s saying that he doesn’t want to owe me a favor.”
“He knows that you and I are in the same boat from a long time ago.”
“Now, we are together in an actual boat. Cheers to our Jeonil Investments.”
They clicked glasses, and Daehwan Cho spoke again.
“I’ll try to breathe life into Pyeongdong. Cheolmin Kim, he’s too good a card to throw away.”
“It will be difficult. Can you make it happen?”
“I’ll take care of our young CEO if you will take care of the foreigners that she had brought with her…”
“That’s bad. You know through multiple tries that the foreigners have rigid mindsets that won’t work the way we do. Cheolmin is not that worthy of a card, to collect a favor in return. It’s high-risk and low-return.”
“Is that so?”
“Wait for a bit until something comes up that Cheolmin can display to the voters as his achievement, but isn’t enough to excite the foreigner’s greed.”
Daehwan Cho nodded. It would be hard to get Cheolmin Kim to accept something so minor that the foreigners would allow it. The problem was that those would not pass Jamie’s eyes, who had handled massive funds in her Walshire Land career, where she learned her predator’s instincts and made her bones.
Daehwan Cho looked over Chungsik Park’s face, and the latter was deep in thought. It was then inspiration came in an instant. The television that had been on without sound was showing a Daehoo Motors advertisement. He saw the Daehoo logo, and at that moment, Daehwan Cho completely ignored the world, his brain working furiously.
“Do you have a good idea?”
While Chungsik Park had asked him a question, Daehwan Cho did not even hear it, and Chungsik Park remained silent. It was good to see Daehwan Cho focus so much that he could not hear anything like a youngster. It was because of that talent Daehwan Cho succeeded without background or money and had become the father in law of his daughter.
Daehwan Cho’s mouth opened.
“Director, let us secure an additional two years after our two-year contract expires.”
“Since the current president will go down in shame, let’s throw him a bone, give the secretary his achievement, and money to the foreigners. That’s enough to be respected and secure our next term and put some damage on that young woman.”
“Is there a firm like that?”
“Daehoo. It’s rotten inside.”
If Daehwan Cho had been still in the accounting firm, he could not have even dreamed of this plan. However, things were different now. The entire political and financial field danced to Jeonil Investment’s tune, and one did want to use the power that was given to them.
Daehwan Cho and Chungsik Park were also predators. However, they were experts in Korean Business and Politics, as they were professionals.
I managed to contact Jamie in the morning, but she hung up on me, saying that she did not have the time. However, it had not been long since she had become the busiest person in Korea, so I did not mind that.
So, it was surprising when Jamie contacted my office around the evening when I had gone to the logging site in Hwaseong. She said she was coming to the office and greeted me by apologizing for hanging up on me in the morning.
“You did not have to come. Are you alone?”
“Yes, I do have some sense.”
Jamie faltered at seeing me.
“You seemed to have been exercising.”
I nodded and wiped my sweat with a towel. The best way to modify my stats was to go through gyms and spar with pro athletes before entering the dungeon. However, I could not do so anymore because rumors had begun to spread.
She removed her hood and blew on her hands. She had become more beautiful during the time I had not seen her, and while she must be worn out, she knew how to enjoy work and public attention.
“Didn’t you come by car?”
“I came here because I had a meeting nearby.”
Jamie said she had met with the Senior Secretary of Economy and had been in a meeting all morning in a Japanese restaurant instead of the Blue House. That had been the reason she had hung up in the morning. She sat and told me a name.
“Do you know the Daehoo Group?”
I did not understand why she would be saying that name around now. In late 1999, Daehoo was affected by the IMF crisis, and before that, they had been the second-largest group in Korea and was the center of our economy. Daehoo had been even more famous than the largest group, Daehyeon, overseas.
Daehoo had earned serious recognition on the world stage.
“Why would I not know Daehoo? Did you put Daehoo on the list? The government has to save Daehoo, Daehyeon, and Ilsung.”
Jamie smiled meaningfully at my words.
“Daehoo’s president will be under arrest tonight.”
I was surprised. Why? Daehoo did not dissipate just because of the IMF, and they had already been circling the drain. It would be next year when everything clicked together and blew up. How can that be happening tonight?
“I have much to tell you about that.”
Jamie’s voice was full of confidence. So, Daehoo would be disposed of in the first half of this year. I had fluttered the wings of a butterfly, but I did not know what made the hurricane hit Daehoo.
“A sudden arrest warrant? I need to hear about this.”
Edited by Userunfriendly, the butterfly. (EN: The things that change the world, according to Chaos theory, are the tiny things. A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian jungle, and subsequently a storm ravages half of Europe.)