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FTC launches obstruction investigation into Hite Jinro

Sept 21,2017
Korea’s corporate watchdog has launched an investigation into Hite Jinro, one of the country’s largest distillers, for obstructing an investigation, industry sources said Wednesday.

Officials from the Fair Trade Commission had previously conducted an on-site inspection into Hite Jinro’s alleged violations of local fair trade laws in April, according to the sources. At the time, some company employees disrupted the commission’s enforcement, they noted.

The Fair Trade Commission has been looking into allegations that the company gave illegal business favors to Seoyoung E&T, an industrial container manufacturer run by Hite Jinro’s owner and his son.

The watchdog has stressed that it will take a firm stance on future instances of probe obstruction and refusal to submit related evidence.

Established in 1924, Hite Jinro is one of the leading alcohol manufacturers in Korea. Its Chamisul soju is top in terms of market share, and its Hite beer is second in the industry.

Earlier this year, Hyundai Steel, the country’s second-biggest steelmaker by sales, was fined 312 million won ($275,600) for hampering an investigation.