Facing the Music

When Daewoo founder Kim Woo Choong fled South Korea in 1999, his giant conglomerate had collapsed under $80 billion of debts. Kim returned home last week after nearly six years on the run in France, Vietnam and Sudan (among other places), to face charges of fraud and foreign-currency violations that could land him in jail for life. It was an extraordinary comedown for a legendary businessman who had turned a $5,000 investment in the 1960s into South Korea's second biggest chaebol, once employing 250,000 people.

After his arrest at Incheon International Airport last Tuesday, prosecutors say Kim...

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