Showdown In Seoul

Can President Kim finally get the chaebol to change?

`Taming wild horses" is how South Korea's Lee Hun Jai describes his job. But the animals in question aren't ponies romping on Korea's windswept slopes. Lee means the chaebol, the giant business groups that have ridden roughshod over the economy and whose gluttonous borrowing triggered Korea's meltdown last year. Lee, 54, is a civil servant whose zeal for reform has led to death threats. As chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), he must straighten out the financial and corporate sectors. He reshaped Korea's banks, but he's having a tougher time with the chaebol. "Sooner or later, we'll put the saddle on them," he says.

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