General Motors Korea CEO Kaher Kazem vows to sue the prosecution for imposing another exit ban just a week after the court canceled the previous one. He has been under investigation since 2019 on charges of illegally hiring more than 1,700 workers from outsourcing companies. Photo courtesy of General Motors Korea

US automaker cries foul at continued exit ban

General Motors (GM) Korea announced on May 10 that it would bring the prosecution to the court due to the continued exit ban on its CEO Kaher Kazem despite the recent ruling against such a measure.

The Korean unit of the U.S. automaker said that the prosecution’s action is tantamount to an abuse of power and discrimination against foreign businesspeople here.

The prosecution started an investigation on Kazem in 2019 for charges of illegally hiring more than 1,700 workers from outsourcing firms. Since then, the prosecution has imposed and extended an exit ban on him.

Kazem asked the court to cancel the restriction, and the court accepted it on April 23 so that he could leave the country. Indeed, he took a flight to the United States to take part in a meeting at the firm’s head office.

Yet, the prosecution put another exit ban on Kazem on April 30 as soon as he returned. It claims that the step is required to continue its lawsuit against Kazem.

“After the U.S. meeting last month, CEO Kazem returned on his own,” the firm said in a statement, insisting that the exit ban is not necessary at all.

Park Ju-gun, the head of business tracker Leader’s Index, lashed out at the controversial measure.

“From the perspective of foreign businesspeople here, they might think that prosecutors discriminate against them,” he said.

“Compared to the case of Samsung Electronics Vice President Lee Jae-yong, prosecutors appear to be stricter to Kazem.”

Lee Jae-yong was put in jail early this year for bribing former President Park Geun-hye to strengthen his control on Samsung, the country’s biggest conglomerate. Included in its top affiliates are Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDI.

Lee was allowed to leave the country, even when he was standing the trial.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.