KT Exec Defends His Company for Satellite Controversy

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Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
SEOUL, KOREA- Amid controversy surrounding the satellites that Korea's telecom operator KT sold to foreign companies at bargain basement prices, a high-ranking KT official defended his company's decision by saying, "The satellites we sold were not really national assets but KT's private assets."He also argued, "The actual selling price was in excess of 20 billion won" instead of 530 million won that a lawmaker revealed.
 
Kim Young-Taek, KT's vice president for business operations, said on November 4 in a press conference hastily convened on short notice, "The Mugunghwa-3 satellite was near its design life by the time of sale. We had to sell No. 3 as the new Mugunghwa-6 was on the same orbit." He added, "After the 2002 privatization of KT, Mugunghwa satellites were no longer national assets. It is not appropriate to pull a national asset argument on this issue."
 
He also denied the allegation that his company sold the satellites at bargain prices. He explained, "Although it's correct to say the sales price of the satellite by itself was 500 million won, the total price including everything from after-sale technical support and other services was more than 20 billion won." The design life as specified in the purchase contract was 12 years from September 1999 to August 2011.
 
Earlier on October 30, National Assemblyman Yoo Seung-hee (Democratic Party) caused a stir by saying that KT sold the Mugunghwa-2 for 4.4 billion won (US$4.1 million) to Europe*Star in January 2010 and the Mugunghwa-3 for 530 million won in September 2011 to Asia Broadcast Satellite. Compared to the 4.57 billion won total sale price of both satellites, the investment costs were reported to reach 451.9 billion won.
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