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Government to punish KT for satellite giveaway

South Korea's science ministry said Tuesday it has opened a probe against KT Corp. as a part of its move to review the legitimacy of the firm's sales of the country's retired satellites at a dirt cheap price.
The move came after parliament's communication committee revealed last week that KT sold the Mugungwha 2 and 3, South Korea's retired satellites launched in 1996 and 1999, respectively, to a Hong Kong-based satellite operator for a combined 4.5 billion won ($4.24 million).
According to the committee, KT sold the Mugungwha 2 and 3 for 4.04 billion won and 530 million won, respectively -- prices that hover far below the combined investment of 450 billion won that was needed to build the two.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said it also plans to review whether the No.2 mobile carrier has violated the country's telecommunications law, as it failed to report the deal to the ministry in advance.
Under the country's Space Development Promotion Act, KT is anticipated to be fined 1.5 million won for a delay in reporting the change in ownership of satellites to the ministry, sources said, along with other stronger punishments for violations of related rules.
The ministry added it plans to decide the scope of punishment by the end of this month. KT was a state-owned firm before it was privatized in 2002. (Yonhap News)
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