BUSINESS

Watchdog files charges against Booyoung affiliates over false stock ownership

By Bae Hyun-jung
  • Published : Mar 14, 2018 - 17:25
  • Updated : Mar 14, 2018 - 17:25
South Korean construction conglomerate Booyoung Group has been charged with falsifying stock ownership involving Chairman Lee Joong-keun, according to the nation’s antitrust watchdog on Wednesday.

The Fair Trade Commission said through a release that it pressed charges against five Booyoung affiliates for falsely reporting Lee‘s stocks as belonging to other family members or executive members during an earlier corporate disclosure processes. In a separate track, the watchdog also imposed a total fine of 32 million won ($30,100) on the corresponding companies.

Booyoung Group Chairman Lee Joong-keun. (Yonhap)

Lee, the 77-year-old founder of the group, who effectively holds exclusive control over the country’s 16th-largest business unit with 93.8 percent stake in Booyoung, was indicted in February on allegedly embezzling some 430 billion won. He is also suspected to have pocketed more than 1 trillion won by manipulating the prices of state-budgeted rental apartments.

The latest charges by the FTC were against the group‘s affiliates for colluding with Lee in concealing his assets by lending names for false stock ownership registration in 2002-2013.

“The registration of stock ownership is necessary in regulating conglomerates’ unfair business practices such as cross-shareholding and corporate disclosure is crucial tool for the market to keep a watch on conglomerates,” said an official of the FTC.

“Stern legal sanctions are required for violations against these systems.”

Booyoung responded with a claim that the FTC’s latest charge was merely an extension of its earlier charge against the arrested group chief.

“(Chairman Lee) has already been indicted over the given charges,” the conglomerate said in a release.

“Also, (Lee) has neither delivered an impact on the group‘s business, nor taken unfair economic profits through the (false) ownership registration.”

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)

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