Rough-1st-year-for-Daelim-chief
Daelim Industrial Group Chairman Lee Hae-wook/Courtesy of Daelim

Chairman Lee hae-wook facing prosecution

Daelim Industrial Group Chairman Lee Hae-wook seems to be having a rough first year as head of the construction conglomerate headquartered in Seoul.

Korea’s anti-trust watchdog said earlier this month that it was fining Daelim Industrial 1.3 billion won ($1.1 million) for giving a profitable contract to a real estate developer that Chairman Lee founded.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) also referred Lee and his company to the prosecution.

The case involves the group’s tourism brand, GLAD. APD, which was set up in 2010 by Lee and his son – who was an elementary school student – had the trademark rights for the brand, according to the commission.

Daelim’s tourism unit that operates hotels then paid for the use of the GLAD to APD, which received around 3.1 billion won over the past two years as part of a 10-year contract worth 25.3 billion won.

The FTC regarded the move as an illegal favor given to a group owner and started an investigation midway through 2017. Following this move, Lee gave his APD shares to a Daelim unit last year.

This is not the first time for Lee to be the subject of public criticism as in 2016 he was fined for mistreating his driver. Back then, he was a vice chairman of the mid-tier group.

The driver of the third-generation heir Lee disclosed details of what he endured as a chauffeur of the scion.

According to him, Lee demanded that he drive without the use of rear-view mirrors so that he would not be able to see the scion in the mirrors. 

The case generated public outrage as an example of chaebol tycoons mistreating their workers. Chairman Lee, who is a grandson of Daelim founder Lee Jae-joon, took charge of Daelim early this year.