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LG Chem falls prey to email phishing

South Korea’s leading chemical company LG Chem has fallen victim to an online scam that caused 24 billion won ($21.1 million) of financial damage to the company.

The fraud case started with an email last month that was sent to LG Chem from Aramco Products Trading Co. 

The email claimed that the bank account for their bilateral business transaction had changed, and asked LG to send its payment to a different account. LG sent the money without suspecting any foul play.

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

But the account did not belong to Aramco Products Trading. Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office is investigating to find who sent the message to LG Chem and whether the Saudi company was hacked. 

“We have filed a complaint with the Korean prosecution, and plan to come up with measures for holding all those involved responsible for the damages,” said Park Chang-seon, a public relations representative from the Korean company.

This could mean that LG is mulling whether to take legal action against Aramco on the grounds that it failed to protect its email accounts. 

The spokesman, however, declined to provide further details.

The latest case is the latest in a string of online scams involving criminals who claim to be a company’s foreign business partner to trick the targeted company into wiring money to false bank accounts.

Aramco Products Trading Co. is a trading firm and a subsidiary of oil producer Saudi Aramco. It is currently the largest shareholder of Korean oil refiner S-Oil. 

LG Chem has maintained a partnership with the Saudi trading firm for years based on importing naphtha – a raw material for plastics.

Aramco Asia-Korea, the Korean branch of Saudi Aramco, could not be reached for comment.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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