Kim Sang-jo, FTC chairman (Yonhap)
Hanjin Group, parent company of flag carrier Korean Air, is facing a number of accusations of breaching market rules alongside the cases of intra-company trade blamed for benefiting the interest of the owner family, the head of the nation’s anti-trust watchdog said Friday.
“Not just intra-affiliate dealings for the benefit of the owner family, (Hanjin Group) have allegedly violated a number of rules,” said Kim Sang-jo, chairman of the Fair Trade Commission in a radio interview. “We are trying to take measures as soon as possible.”
On April 20, FTC opened an investigation into allegations that Hanjin chairman’s family have gained ill-gotten profits through two trading companies established for brokering products supplied to the carrier’s in-flight duty free shop. Kim’s remark on Friday appeared to be indicating that the FTC could open more investigations on Hanjin other than its ongoing investigation. The FTC head, however, declined to say what specific area the agency was going to probe.
The former shareholder rights activist said he would question the practices of chaebol families for holding large shares in affiliates unrelated to respective groups’ core businesses. He also urged chaebol members to dispose shares to come clean from market suspicions over their alleged profit-taking practices from minor affiliates.
Conglomerates were given a one-year grace period, but Kim is aware that the problems within the intra-company dealings still remain unresolved by requesting them to take voluntary actions. “In this respect, we are approaching the problem through rational methods, by modernizing the current fair trade law.”
By Cho Chung-un (email@example.com