SLS Group on verge of collapse
Published : Sep 22, 2011 - 16:34
Updated : Sep 22, 2011 - 19:37
SLS Group, which came to public attention on Thursday when its chairman Lee Kuk-chul accused former vice minister of culture Shin Jae-min of taking billions of won in bribes, is facing disintegration.

Lee, a former civil servant, began his career as a businessman with a factory producing parts for trains. He then acquired Haitai Heavy Industries’ plant in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province.

Lee’s company was involved in developing new carriages for the Mugunghwa train, for which it was awarded a presidential commendation.

The group then acquired the shipbuilder ShinaSB Yard Co., and by 2009 it was posting annual sales of over 1 trillion won ($848 million).

However, Lee was found to have doctored the group’s accounts and was sentenced to five years probation in November.

Lee was also indicted without detention in December for using $100 million raised from a Singapore-based shipping firm to hide the fact that SLS Shipbuilding had lost 140 billion won in capital.

As a result, the shipbuilder has since begun a workout process, while other subsidiaries of the group have been declared bankrupt.

By Choi He-suk  (