OSAKA — One of three key defendants in an early 1990s breach of trust case involving the now-defunct trading house Itoman Corp. failed to appear Oct. 21 at a court hearing in his trial.Ho Yong Chung, 50, recently vanished in South Korea after being released on bail, and the Osaka District Court is expected to reverse its decision to grant him bail, court officials said. Ho, owner of several real estate companies, is charged together with two former Itoman executives with breach of trust in connection with art dealings between his companies and Itoman.He was arrested in 1991 and was freed in 1993 on bail of 600 million yen. On Sept. 27, he traveled to South Korea to attend a memorial service for a relative of his wife. Ho reportedly disappeared after being hospitalized for heart trouble immediately before his scheduled return to Japan on Oct. 1, the defense team said last week. At a court hearing on Oct. 7, the defense team explained that Ho was unable to attend because of illness.The two former Itoman executives — former President Yoshihiko Kawamura, 73, and former Managing Director Suemitsu Ito, 52 — are charged with breach of trust in connection with Itoman’s purchase of paintings at inflated prices from Ho’s companies. The breach led to Itoman’s collapse and eventual merger in 1993 with Sumikin Bussan Kaisha Ltd., a subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. Sumikin Bussan, which absorbed Itoman, remains the surviving entity in the merger deal.
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