Daehyeon at the time had been an insurmountable wall, and the rivalry between Ilsung and Daehoo for second place ended in 1998 with Daehoo as the victor. Daehoo had at least superficially seemed to grab the IMF crisis as an opportunity. They had bought Ssangho Motors to expand their automobile business and expanded overseas. The number of foreign branches was about four hundred before the group was torn into pieces.
Unlike my paper companies that existed only on documents, those branches were actual companies. I had been an ordinary middle school student then and had not been interested in Daehoo’s dissolution as much as I had been interested in girls. I had understood the weight of Daehoo’s name at university, as my professor had worked for Daehoo as did many others. He was one of Daehoo’s legal counsels, and the legal fees they paid him would let him live without money worries until he died.
Therefore, he was biased toward Daehoo, and believed that Daehoo had broken up not because of the IMF or negligent management but due to the government. He fervently believed that Daehoo’s breakup led to our economic development being delayed over twenty years.
Well, it had not been only my professor who thought so, and almost all of my conservative professors who thought that the government should be hands-off the Conglomerates used Daehoo’s breakup to attack the progressives. The funny thing was that the attacks actually worked.
“I told you that the first thing I did as CEO was to hire Korean directors.”
“Daehwan Cho and Chungsik Park.”
Jamie’s eyes widened a bit when I said their names. She was thinking about how I remembered those names she had only briefly mentioned and would think that I was closely monitoring Jeonil.
“I hired them not just because of their abilities, but from the uniqueness of this country.”
I had made a good choice hiring Jamie, her head worked as smoothly as her beauty was striking. She found the answer to what Jeonil needed by herself. Finding a real estate investment counsel was the next step, and she first found a safe way to manage the unidentifiable hot money that had poured into Jeonil.
As my hiring Jamie had produced good results, the two men were the same for Jamie.
“You know that it was not for work that I hired them as directors.”
I remained still so she could continue speaking.
“Do you know what the two are doing? They are dabbling in politics. I gave them positions to at least look legitimate on the surface, but they’re involved politics when they’re not even politicians.”
She then said they had been meeting senior politicians. I was going to say something, but Jamie spoke first.
“However, in this country, that was the way things are done. I’m learning a lot from them and managed to put Daehoo on the list because of those two men.”
“Jamie, let’s remember one thing.”
“Corruption exists everywhere. America legalized lobbying and made it public, but the fundamental rules are the same. I don’t know whether you can adjust to this country with that sort of bias.”
The heated atmosphere cooled down, and Jamie’s face grew notably cold.
“However, this country is indeed unique in its conglomerates.”
I finished up.
“I apologize. Please go on. My clients will see Daehoo being on the list as a favorable step. The problem is the buyout money.”
Jamie scratched her brow to compose herself and opened her lips. The summary was that Daehoo would become the sacrifice to the IMF. The current President and his Cabinet needed something that could cover the criticism they would face, and Daehoo was the best option.
As Jamie had said, Daehwan Cho and Chungsik Park were doing everything from creating the scenario to writing the script by gathering the politicians.
Even if the government needed a scapegoat, could they really sacrifice Daehoo? Korean conglomerates like Daehoo had special power structures and it’s loss would massively affect Korea.
Around this time, there were a lot of prominent politicians who had been bought by Daehyeon, Daehoo, and Ilsung… I remembered then the arrest warrant for Daehoo’s president had already been issued, and the process should have been extremely difficult, without some way to pressure the President or the Diet, or both…
There must have been secrets that Daehwan Cho and Chungsik Park could not report to Jamie, and I mentally held a thumbs-up to them. Those two middle-aged men knew their stuff. How did they think of hitting Daehoo now?
As I had mentioned before, the upper-class financial and political elites had a high survival rate in the Trial Tests. They instinctively preyed on the weak for their own profit, hamstrung and ambushed those stronger than them, used fear to survive, and engaged in hostile takeovers and pressured buyouts even in what looked like peaceful times on the surface.
This life of survival and skill was what they knew and understood, and Daehwan Cho and Chungsik Park were true elites, using Jeonil to gain secret favors, and ruin enemies.
“The evidence the current government has on Daehoo has will be revealed in court.”
“Blood will flow at the end of the trial.”
The current government knew that this would be a rougher month than when they passed the real-time online financial system, but they did so anyway because there would be a larger reward.
“What are they requesting?”
“Additional investments and a block buyout.”
“Yes, an additional investment of at least 5 billion dollars and the entire Daehoo Group, including their debts.”
Additional investments were not a problem, and while the funding routes would be uncertain due to haste, the current government will help us hide the transfers.
However, Jamie was observing my mood because buying the entire Daehoo Group would not result in as much profit as the subsidiaries and affiliates varied in their profitability and solvency.
When thinking of money in the short-term, it would be better to wait until Daehoo was completely split up and gobble the core subsidiaries and affiliates, and Jamie seemed to be thinking the same thing.
“Daehoo will be cleaned up even if we left them alone. However, it’s too much of a shame to let it go.”
Jamie did not understand that if we got out after things had gone this far, Jeonil would be bitter enemies to the government. While Jamie seemed to think that since the term ends next month, they won’t be much of a threat, the next ruling party will be the Democrats.
When the financial crisis is reduced a little, there would be a high probability of a strong tax investigation coming to our company.
I smiled and wanted to bring Daehwan Cho and Chungsik Park and have them stand while I bowed to them. While Jamie would need some time to understand Korea’s political and financial worlds, the two men did not. They knew it all but chose Daehoo as their prey.
The difference between Jamie and the two Korean directors was that Jamie did not know anything about Korean conglomerates. The two directors were not looking at the properties or profits Daehoo subsidiaries and affiliates were making but trying to secure Daehoo’s position of being one of the top three conglomerates in Korea. They were protecting Daehoo’s name and their infrastructure that Daehoo had built up to this day. And after the sale, the intricate and interlocked political and commercial interests that depended on Daehoo retaining her position and reputation as one of the top three would all owe, and owe big to Daehwan Cho and Chungik Park.
Who could have believed that Daehoo would go down in this period?
“Jamie, can you handle the Daehoo Group? You’re thinking of bringing in a foreign Chief Executive Officer and professional managers from overseas if we succeed, right?”
Jamie started in surprise.
“Find a new president among the current board members, not from the CEO’s family, but from his closest executives.”
“Have Daehwan Cho and Chungsik Park close by and learn from them. They will know why this decision was made and would even demand this to happen.”
They seemed to have already talked about it, and Jamie’s face grew rigid again.
“Are you allowing us to buy Daehoo?”
“Don’t feel cheated. We are in an advantageous position. Hand over as many weak subsidiaries and debts to the government as possible.”
“The conditions that the government…”
I motioned Jamie to come over the window, and she followed me.
“Do you know what the Korean government is saying nowadays?”
Jamie’s gaze followed my finger and to the streets, where people were still coming in with gold rings. The Gold Collection Campaign banner was still flying in the wind.
“Share the pain. Is that necklace gold?”
Jamie stroked the necklace.
“In Gwanghwamoon it will be noticed. Don’t wear it openly, but discreetly. Make up a story like that being your mother’s keepsake and bring the two directors with you.”
Since Jamie was smart, she knew what I was talking about. (EN: I think Sun is saying it would look bad for the government to let the struggling subsidiaries and affiliates go bankrupt and leave their staff unemployed. Sun is making an offer to the government they can’t refuse. ^_^ )
“I know that I need justification.”
“Aggressively proceed without worrying about the additional investments or management direction. While there are opportunities everywhere, grab everything you can find. Jeonil Investments needs to monopolize this country’s crisis. I gave you that much money. Don’t lose whatever it may be, lands, buildings, or companies.”
Edited by Userunfriendly