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Criminal Trial of CEO Likely to Impede Lotte Chemical’s Global Business
Hurdle to Global Business
Criminal Trial of CEO Likely to Impede Lotte Chemical’s Global Business
  • By Michael Herh
  • January 5, 2017, 02:00
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Huh Soo-young, CEO of Lotte Chemical.
Huh Soo-young, CEO of Lotte Chemical.

 

"We will prepare a new takeoff to be the best chemical company and lay the foundation for becoming a world-class corporation through innovations and changes in 2017," Lotte Chemical CEO Huh Soo-young said in a meeting to start the New Year on January 2.

"The CEO also called for the thorough management of new projects such as ECC and EG plant construction projects in the US, the high-value-added synthetic rubber business with Valsalis, an Italian state-run oil company, and the third project of the expansion of the Yeosu NCC plant," said a representative of Lotte Chemical

Lotte Chemical secured strong momentum to elevate the status of the Korean chemical industry via the successful establishment of the Surgil project in Uzbekistan last year. On top of that, the completion of Hyundai Chemical facilities through its cooperation with a joint venture company achieved the stabilization of raw material supply and cost competitiveness among others. Its sales and operating profits in the fourth quarter were estimated at 3546 billion won and 667.5 billion won, up 32% and 116% from a year before, respectively.

This increase in profitability is attributable to efforts made by president Huh of Lotte Chemical. In 2010, Heo took the lead in taking over Titan, a Malaysian company with an annual production capacity of 720,000 tons of ethylene, which launched Lotte Chemical to the number one position among Korea chemical firms in terms of ethylene production.

Meanwhile, this year, Lotte Chemical has to overcome many difficulties as CEO Huh will stand trial on charges of raising slush funds before kicking off full-scale business activities such as global business.

CEO Huh’s trial will take a considerable amount of time as the CEO is charged with five accounts. CEO Huh is accused of having fraudulently received a refund of corporate tax amounting to 22 billion won by faking accounting documents to make KP Chemical appear to have fixed assets worth 150 billion won when Lotte Chemical acquired KP Chemical in 2006.

Apart from the accusation, CEO Huh is suspected of having evaded individual consumption tax of 1.3 billion won by scaling down volumes of petrochemical raw material extracts in March 2014, having bribed a tax investigator into silence with 25 million won, committing a breach of trust by paying Lotte Japan an unnecessary commission of five billion won and misappropriation of 43 million won from a import brokerage firm. If the CEO proves guilty, Lotte Chemical is expected to suffer from a big blow to its business this year, continuing from last year.

Already in June of last year, when CEO Huh was under arrest as a suspect, he was banned from leaving the country and finally Lotte Chemical had to give up taking over Axiall, a chemical company in the US.