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Sat, Jul 02, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Fraud

Fugitive bexecutive indicted

The former chairman of collapsed South Korean conglomerate Daewoo Group was indicted yesterday on fraud charges amounting to US$71 billion after living nearly six years abroad on the run. Kim Woo-choong, who returned to South Korea last month after fleeing the country in 1999, is accused of having falsified Daewoo's accounts to draw billions of dollars in illegal bank loans before diverting them overseas. Kim was indicted on charges of 40 trillion won (US$39 billion) in accounting fraud, obtaining 9.8 trillion won in illegal financing and diverting 23 trillion won out of the country, the Supreme Public Prosecutors's Office said in a statement.

■ Internet

Buffett lunch sold on EBay

A lunch for eight with billionaire investor Warren Buffett sold for US$351,100 in bidding on EBay Inc's Web site that benefited a San Francisco charity serving the homeless. A bidder going by the EBay screen name hanka3153 won the week-long auction that attracted 105 bids. Buffett, who is chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc and ranks as the world's second-richest person, has hosted the lunch for as many as eight people since 2000. The auction concluded at 10pm New York time and set a record price, topping the US$250,100 paid by Greenlight Capital LLC founder David Einhorn in 2003. The proceeds benefit San Francisco-based Glide Memorial Church's work to help the homeless. The winner will share a meal with Buffett in New York or Omaha, Nebraska, where Berkshire Hathaway is based.

■ Mobile Phones

Samsung, Motorola ink pact

Samsung Electronics Co and Motorola Inc, two of the world's top three makers of mobile phones, signed a preliminary agreement to share each other's technology for wireless communication. Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung and US-based Motorola signed the agreement yesterday, Samsung said in a regulatory filing after the market's 3pm close in Seoul. Samsung spokeswoman Cho Sung In declined to comment further on the statement, which didn't provide financial or technical details because of a confidentiality pact. Motorola, the second-largest handset maker, and No. 3 Samsung may be partnering in handsets based on more advanced technologies than those on sale now to help them gain ground on industry leader Nokia Oyj, said Michael Min, a Seoul-based analyst at Korea Investment & Securities Co.

■ Manufacturing

Japan's outlook improves

Japanese manufacturers' economic sentiment about the world's second-largest economy has improved, the Japanese central bank said yesterday in its April-June Tankan survey, which strongly influences the bank's monetary policy. The latest quarterly survey by the Bank of Japan showed the diffusion index of business sentiment among big manufacturers stood at positive 18 in the June survey. The figure was 14 in the March survey. A positive number means optimists outnumber pessimists. It hit a 13-year-high of 26 in September last year. The index of major non-manufacturers was also up to positive 15 from the March survey at positive 11. The central bank's index gauges the percentage of companies reporting a pickup in business conditions, minus the percentage of companies reporting otherwise.

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