TOKYO -- Chung Mong-koo, chairman of the Hyundai-Kia Motor Group, has made a record charitable donation of nearly a half-billion dollars to help the poor in South Korea, reportedly as part of the reparation gift he pledged in 2006 while embroiled in an embezzlement scandal.
The donation was given to the Haevichi Social Contribution Culture Foundation, a group that provides educational opportunities to children from poor families, Hyundai Motor Co. said in a release. Chung set up the group in 2007 with a 150 billion won ($92.9 million) donation.
South Korea media reports described the Aug. 28 gift, of 500 billion won ($464 million), as the largest personal charitable donation in the country's history. The gift comes in the form of the chairman's personal shares in Hyundai Glovis, the logistics subsidiary of Hyundai Motor.
Hyundai Motor could not confirm whether the latest offering was part of Chung's 2006 pledge to give 1 trillion won ($930 million) back to society over the next several years.
But South Korea media described it as the next installment toward that goal.
Chung promised the gift as he became ensnared in an embezzlement scandal. He was arrested in 2006 and found guilty the following year of siphoning about 100 billion won ($92.8 million) in company money to create a slush fund to seek political favors.
Chung was eventually given a three-year suspended sentence.
The head of Korea's biggest auto company did community service in lieu of jail time, and was granted a pardon from South Korea's president in 2008.