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Last Updated: Monday, 31 December 2007, 13:47 GMT
South Korea pardons Daewoo boss
Daewoo ex-chairman Kim Woo-choong in 1998
His jail sentence had already been suspended because of ill health
The founder and former chairman of South Korea's Daewoo has been pardoned in a traditional New Year amnesty.

Kim Woo-Chong, 71, was sent to prison for eight and a half years in 2006 for crimes including embezzlement and accounting fraud.

But one month later the court ordered the suspension of the sentence because of ill health.

Daewoo went under in 1999 with debts of $82bn (41bn) leaving the government to rescue its component companies.

Woo-Chong fled the country and was accused of ordering his executives to lie in order to obtain loans. He was also accused of smuggling money overseas.

He eventually returned to South Korea in 2005 to face charges.

In addition to the prison sentence, he was ordered to forfeit 17.9 trillion won ($18.2bn; 9.5bn) and pay 10m won in fines.

Simple beginning

Daewoo started out as a small textile firm, which he had bought for $5,000 in 1967.

From this simple beginning, Kim turned Daewoo into one of South Korea's most powerful industrial conglomerates, or "chaebols", with close ties to other business leaders and top politicians

At its height, Daewoo employed 320,000 people in 110 countries.

General Motors bought a major stake in Daewoo Motor to create GM Daewoo in 2002.

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