No Seoul, Brothers
Almost from day one, Unfair Park's been following the doings--and undoings--of Lone Star Funds in South Korea; here's all you need to know and then some (and then some more). Short version...well, there is no short version, except to say SK officials want the downtown Dallas-based company to cough up two of its execs for questioning concerning the sale of Korea Exchange Bank, which Lone Star bought in 2003 and now wants to offload to South Korea's largest financial institution, Kookmin Bank, for some $7.4 billion. Hey, they just wanna talk about tax evasion and embezzlement. No biggie.
Well, seems today Lone Star done went and pissed off the South Koreans one more time. Looks like the company's vice chairman, Ellis Short, and general counsel, Michael Thomson, didn't show up in Seoul today, even though they received a summons from prosecutors there. Reports the Associated Press a short time ago: "It marks the sixth time that [the] Lone Star [executives] have failed to appear to answer a summons made in connection with the fund's 2003 acquisition of Korea Exchange Bank, said Chae Dong-wook of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office."
South Korean officials with the SPO are now issuing arrest warrants for the two men. Whoops.
But, like, 10 minutes ago, Lone Star's chairman John Grayken issued a statement insisting that the South Koreans' characterization of Short and Thomson's failure to show in Seoul is "misleading and inflammatory." He says the two men "have repeatedly offered to travel to Korea for further questioning in connection with the SPO's ongoing investigation, provided they are permitted to leave after they have answered the SPO's questions."
The arrest warrants kinda suggest that ain't gonna happen. So developing. --Robert Wilonsky