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Police tracking 188 billion won of Osstem Implant embezzled through multiple accounts

View of Osstem Implant`s headquarters in Seoul (Yonhap)
View of Osstem Implant`s headquarters in Seoul (Yonhap)
Police are tracking the whereabouts of 188 billion won ($157 million) in corporate funds that an employee of a South Korean dental implant maker allegedly embezzled, with information that the money had been divided and transferred through multiple bank accounts in the process of the crime.

A police official told media outlets Tuesday the 188 billion won of corporate funds, which accounts for 91.8 percent of Osstem Implant’s 204.7 billion won in equity capital, was confirmed to have been channeled through multiple bank accounts in divided amounts before the case came to light Monday.

The bank accounts that received and transferred the embezzled funds have been frozen by police orders, but the possibility remains for the employee in question to have already fled the country with some amount of money.

A 45-year-old employee surnamed Lee, who was in charge of managing corporate funds, failed to report to work Thursday, and orders to bar him from international travel were issued a day later. This raises the possibility that he already fled to another country before investigators started making moves on the case.

He is suspected of embezzling the funds at once in October, investing much of it in stocks and allocating some in his personal accounts. The employee was reported to have forged balance sheets to make it seem like the funds remained in place after he had embezzled them.

After the embezzlement was discovered, Osstem Implant was indefinitely suspended from trading on the secondary Kosdaq bourse until the Korea Exchange makes the final decision on the firms’ listing eligibility.

Osstem Implant on Friday sued the employee in question on charges of embezzlement. If true, the latest case would be the single largest-ever embezzlement case in South Korea’s history among listed firms.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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