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Report: Hyundai tour boss suicide

Chung Mong-hun, right, was a son of Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung.
Chung Mong-hun, right, was a son of Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung.

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SEOUL, South Korea -- A top official with the Hyundai group has committed suicide by jumping off a building that is part of the company's headquarters, South Korean media has reported.

Chung Mong-hun, chairman of Hyundai Asan Co. which focuses on tourism, killed himself at about 6 a.m. Monday (2100 GMT Sunday) by leaping from his 12th-floor office, the reports said.

Chung was being investigated in connection with an alleged payment of hundreds of millions of dollars to North Korea in exchange for its holding a summit between South and North Korean leaders.

He was on trial on charges stemming from allegations that his company helped former President Kim Dae-jung's government secretly pay North Korea $100 million to get Pyongyang to agree to the summit.

He was also being investigated for alleged doctoring of company books and siphoning billions of dollars into slush funds. He was forbidden to leave the country and had faced a number of court proceedings.

"Mr. Chung jumped off his office in the 12th floor of the Hyundai headquarters building" in central Seoul, said a police officer who only gave his last name, Park.

Chung was found dead on the ground by his female secretary, The Associated Press reports Park as saying.

So far, eight former government officials and Hyundai officials have been indicted in the scandal. If convicted, some could face up to five years in prison.

Hyundai Asan is separate from Hyundai Motors, though they both used to be branches of the Hyundai Group.

After Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung died in 2001, the various branches of the company spun off and became separate entities.

Mong-hun was the younger brother of current Hyundai Motors chairman Chung Mong-koo.

Hyundai Asan handles Hyundai's North Korean projects as well as various tourism projects.

-- CNN Correspondent Sohn Jie-Ae contributed to this report.

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