Vogo maintains founder’s innocence

Korean private equity firm Vogo Investment is pushing ahead with fundraising in spite of bribery charges levelled at one of its co-founders Byeon Yang Ho.

Jason Shin, a co-founder of Vogo Investment, has defended Byeon Yang Ho, a co-founder recently indicted on bribery charges and who faces further investigation by Korean prosecutors on his role in the controversial sale of Korea Exchange Bank.

Shin said in an interview with PEO: “We believe he is innocent, and will be acquitted after trial. Everyone who knows him knows he’s not capable of such a misconduct.”
Shin said Byeon, previously a director-general at Korea’s Ministry of Finance and Economy, would not have to leave the firm, which is fundraising.

It has just held a first close of $110 million on a separate fund vehicle registered in the Cayman Islands for overseas investors, boosting the total amount of funds in its management to $610 million. The firm’s main Vogo Fund closed initially in September last year on $500 million.

Vogo aims to raise up to $1 billion via the two vehicles by October. The proportion of foreign investment in the overall fund will not exceed 30 percent, Shin said.

Established in June of 2005, Vogo was founded by four partners including Shin, Morgan Stanley’s former head of investment banking in Korea, and Byeon. The other partners include Lee Jae Woo, former Lehman Borthers’ country head, and Vancouver-based Raymond So, formerly an investment banker.

Korean prosecutors have started investigating a number of high ranking ministry and Korea Exchange Bank officials involved in the 2003 sale to Lone Star, a US private equity fund.