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E-mail about sexual exploits, lavish life leaves man without job

May 22, 2001

New York Times

Hold on. Don't press "send."

A young double-click-happy financial executive is wishing he had never touched his computer's left mouse button last Tuesday.

Paul Chung, a recently hired associate at Carlyle Group in its office in Seoul, South Korea, was forced to resign last Friday after boasting about his sexual exploits and new lavish lifestyle in an e-mail message to his buddies in New York.

Unfortunately for Chung, a 24-year-old Princeton graduate who had moved to Seoul only three days earlier to start his job, the message was forwarded and passed around to thousands on Wall Street and wound up being forwarded to his bosses at Carlyle, the private equity firm.

Chung was given the option of resigning or being dismissed, a Carlyle executive said.

The e-mail message, which was retitled "Amazing Cautionary Tale" by a banking analyst, meandered in and out of e-mail boxes around the world.

"I know I was a stud in NYC, but I pretty much get about, on average, 5-8 phone numbers a night and at least 3 hot chicks that say that they want to go home with me every night I go out. I love the buyside," he wrote in the message using the company's network. He bragged about his "spanking brand new 2000 sq. foot 3 bedroom apt. with a 200 sq. foot terrace." He bragged that he used one bedroom for his "harem" and another for other sexual exploits.

Chung also boasted about his new job. "I have bankers calling me everyday with opportunities and they pretty much cater to my every whim -- you know (golfing events, lavish dinners, a night out clubbing)," he wrote.

Reached by telephone in Seoul, Chung said: "It's devastating. I really can't comment. Sorry."

David M. Rubenstein, a founder and managing director of Carlyle Group refused to comment about the matter. Carlyle Group is best known for its investments in military companies and its prominent list of advisers, including Arthur Levitt, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and James Baker, the former secretary of state.

One Wall Street analyst who passed along Chung's e-mail to his investment banking or "IB" colleagues attached this prophetic message: "Rule No. 1 we learned in IB training: If you don't want it published in the NYT, don't write it. Seriously."

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