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Chapter 32

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Even though people were speaking endlessly about this subject, the elementary school textbooks will record the IMF crisis as having occurred due to people spending too much. The biggest reason the IMF crisis happened was due to domestic firms recklessly borrowing dollars to hide their insolvency from their own shareholders, the influence of the Japanese Yen, and the attack of international investors, but those reasons will be hidden. (EN: the state of being insolvent; inability to pay one’s debts.)

I turned off the screen after watching the news regarding the Daehoo Group President’s first trial. Jonathan was as hard to reach as Jamie, and I sent the times I could be contacted by email and asked that he should reach out to me as soon as possible.

He contacted me the next day, and I requested one thing from him – that he should come to Korea.

 

***

 

Jonathan’s First Korean Visit. The God of Investments arrives in the “Hermit Kingdom”.

[Jonathan “Korea still maintains its investment value in the long term, and I have visited to confirm this.”]

 

‘Jonathan,’ from Jonathan Investments, visited Seoul yesterday on the 23rd. While the name was unfamiliar to us, Wall Street actually called him the “God of Investments.” He had unveiled his genius in investing during the Asian financial crisis from last year and had risen to super stardom as a global investor. It had not taken Jonathan half a year to turn four hundred thousand dollars to twenty-two billion dollars.

 

– Jonathan – an investor or a Hollywood actor? Will he be treated as a state guest…

 

Those who arrived to greet Jonathan, including the Senior Secretary of Economics Cheolmin Kim, and the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Il Yuk, were worried about the weather over Gimpo Airport. The news announcing snow made it questionable whether Jonathan’s private plane could land or not.

However, Jonathan exited his plane waving his hand, dressed in a black suit. About a hundred reporters gathered around Gimpo Airport for Jonathan, and the large banners that announced Jonathan’s first visit to Korea hanging in the middle of the airport were signs of Jonathan’s fame.

After a brief conference, Jonathan headed to the Blue House with a police escort.

 

– Jonathan’s Theory of Investment. “Invest without Fear.”

 

When answering a question lightly asked by a reporter regarding how one should invest in order to hit the jackpot during the conference, Jonathan spoke of his theory of investing without fear. As Jonathan had broken records and achieved astronomical profit rates, his investment theory reassured domestic and foreign investors and Korean citizens, who stood frozen in the overwhelming fear the IMF crisis had brought. This was because Jonathan spoke of his goal in coming to Korea “since Korea has the power to overcome this financial crisis, this is one of the best investments one could make in the long run” and revealed his vision of Korea.

 

***

 

I went to the pub I had rented for private use, and the key was hidden in the flowerpot as agreed. As I entered the pub, the heater had been turned on as I requested.

With a sign saying that the pub will be closed for the day hung on the entrance, since it was broad daylight, the pub remained silent for a long time. The silence broke after a careful knock, and I saw a tall shadow from the window.

Jonathan was alone, and he confirmed he wasn’t followed before greeting me. He locked the door first without my asking.

 

“You’re alone?”

Jonathan asked, and I nodded.

 

“I feel like I have become an industrial spy.”

 

He spoke as he placed a briefcase on the table.

 

“Fame is not always a good thing.”

“Yeah, I barely managed to get out.”

 

While he had prepared to come to Korea, the visit proved to be even more hectic than our expectations. He told me he had not imagined that he would be treated as a state guest on arrival. Forbes had named him one of the twenty richest men globally.  In stark contrast, the other entries on the list were international financial institutions that had made history for centuries or possessed strategic branches all over the world.  The New York firm Jonathan acted as CEO was a small-sized investment company.

He only needed a small office, and Jonathan was only in his twenties. However, Korea had treated him like a world leader because he had astounding piles of cash.

 

“Korea is that desperate now.”

“However, hope is growing.The IMF is providing support funds, and you’re feeding in dollars.”

 

It was appropriate for a foreigner like Jonathan to evaluate the situation like that, but Korean financiers would find this assessment absolutely humiliating. It was comparable to the Japanese colonial era since Korea had to bow down to whatever command the IMF would give out and stand helplessly as property was confiscated overseas.

However, I had not called Jonathan to discuss such matters.

 

“Korea will overcome the IMF quickly.”

 

More so than Korea had in the past.

 

“I also hope that, since I’ve become too familiar with this country. However, Sun, wasn’t that due to your efforts?”

“Daehoo?”

“Yes, I could not believe what I heard. Has Korea decided to throw Daehoo under the bus?”

 

While Jonathan had not lived in Korea for more than a few months, he was a Wall Street financier, and Daehoo had been closely connected with many foreign firms.

The connections were showing up in the stock price changes of those firms.

 

“Daehoo was not part of our plan, and I had not expected that the current Korean government would throw away Daehoo.”

“Even you? Then who did this?”

“While this is not my plan, it’s proceeding under our supervision.”

“Oh, Jeonil Investments?”

“They’re working on their own and doing well. I’m quite proud.”

 

Jonathan smiled, but it was without much amusement.

 

“You have the funds to buy them?”

“There are many firms in this country that can be bought with one dollar.”

 

If only one could bear their debts.

 

“Everyone will come rushing in at that time, smelling the blood in the water. Have you finished talking with your government?”

 

Jonathan now sat on a chair.

 

“Negotiations are underway, but the results will not change. Other firms cannot accommodate the government’s demands as well as Jeonil, since those companies will not accept a bloc buyout for the  entire Daehoo infrastructure.”

“Are you going to buy the entire group?”

“Yes. However, we will restructure and take care of some subsidiaries immediately afterwards.”

“Aren’t you going about this backward? I’m not following you.”

“You have understood the situation. We will not dismantle the group, and the management will not change as we will use those who are close to the current president.”

“…Why go that far?”

“Foreign Dollars will not be the definitive power forever. When Korea graduates from the IMF, the economy will quickly spring back to normal. We have to prepare for the next step.”

 

Jonathan’s eyes were smiling now.

 

“Sun, you actually seem to like your country a lot. Even if you say you don’t, that’s not an embarrassing trait. I don’t know what you see in Daewoo, but I know that there’s not that much money going on in there. Using that money elsewhere will bring in more profit, as your country’s economy is in freefall right now.”

“You’ll see about the money.”

“There are other things involved? Is it a quiz? You won’t tell me? Don’t…”

“Ten billion dollars.”

“What?”

“We will bring an additional ten billion dollars to the fifteen already planned, and that means a total of twenty-five billion when we buy out Daehoo.”

 

Jonathan’s eyes opened wide. It was not because I had made such a big decision without him, as he had announced that he did not care about the offshore funds.

His eyes began to shake, even though he had remained calm when I told him I would buy the entire Daehoo group. Jonathan grabbed the ice water in the middle of winter.

He emptied the glass and spoke in a much lower voice.

 

“Think carefully, or we will be imprisoned for ten thousand years. You shouldn’t put too much faith in the corporate shell game we created. You know that the tax bureau can do anything even if the procedure is complicated and difficult. It only takes them longer. If such a large sum moves…”

“The Korean government is much more desperate than us.”

“What are you saying?”

 

Jonathan now realized something.

 

“This is a chance to make the twenty-five billion dollars into completely legitimate, clean money.”

“You’re going to leave that to your country’s government? How?”

“That’s for them to do, and we only need to show the numbers.”

“Sun…how can you think of making a country do your money laundering?”

 

Jonathan spoke in a tired voice.

 

***

 

During the latter half of last year, when the Hong Kong shock hit the world, we had earned money. As a result, we had twenty-two billion dollars in Jonathan Investments and forty-three billion in tax havens all over the world.

It was natural that the world would be looking at Jonathan and Jonathan Investments closely. How many companies would have that much money as their reserves? The New York firm’s net revenue was twenty-two billion dollars, and this amount would be only achieved by the greatest firms in their prime even in the future.

However, Jonathan and the unidentified John Doe had made the profit with a mere four hundred thousand dollars. Since John Doe’s identity was a secret, it was only natural that Jonathan would be the sole subject of fame and attention.

The forty-three billion dollars had been jumped in and out of tax havens like hackers would bounce off of routers to hide their identities. The total amount that had been moved would have been much greater.

It was inevitable that rumors would begin to spread in the global financial market. The rumors that said it was money from the Soviet Union during the Civil War was going too far, but the rumors that it was the secret stash from the financiers who won the Asian financial crisis was more believable. Such rumors would be spreading now.

On the other hand, Jonathan did not know much outside of the funds in the New York firm. He was calm after hearing my explanation like he was satisfied with his current situation.

 

“What you’re telling me is too surreal.”

“I don’t know how much is where if I don’t see the ledgers.”

“If you lose them?”

“They’re forever gone with them.”

“That’s food for thought.”

 

Jonathan covered his body with both of his arms.

 

“Therefore, we have to clean them whenever there’s a chance.”

“You called me for that? I told you I do not care about money outside the New York firm. That’s more than enough for me. Come to think of that…”

“I have called you to solve some of your problems. Aren’t those portfolios in that briefcase?”

 

I pointed my chin at the briefcase Jonathan had brought with him.

 

“Start the briefing.”

 

Jonathan seemed to have been waiting for me to press the start button, as I heard the briefcase land on the table as soon as I finished speaking.

 

Edited by Userunfriendly

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