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Ruling on Jin Air’s fate delayed

June 30,2018
Korea said Friday that it has decided to delay its decision on the fate of Jin Air over its illegal appointment of a foreign national to its board of directors.

Under Korean aviation law, only South Koreans can be registered as a director of an airline.

But Jin Air, the budget affiliate of Korean Air Lines, named Cho Hyun-min - a daughter of Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho - as its director between 2010 and 2016, though she is legally an American citizen.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport had planned to announce the fate of Jin Air this week, but it said it will listen to opinions of officials, experts and relevant parties over whether to cancel a license for Jin Air before making a final decision.

The process of canvassing opinions usually takes more than two months.

Jin Air said it will explain its stance and views in good faith during the examination process and vowed to win public confidence by improving customer service and creating more jobs.

The delay illustrated a dilemma facing the Korean government as its decision could affect about 1,900 jobs in Jin Air at a time when Korea is pushing to expand employment opportunities.

The ministry also vowed to strengthen its oversight on airlines to ensure no similar case occurs in the future.

The ministry said it has asked law enforcement officials to investigate those who have failed to find the illegal board appointment in 2013 and 2016, when the budget carrier changed its air transport license three times.

On Friday, shares in Jin Air fell 0.39 percent to 25,300 won ($22.74), underperforming the broader Kospi’s 0.51 percent gain.

Cho’s family has been under intense public scrutiny over a series of allegations of physical and verbal violence in the workplace, as well as smuggling and tax evasion.

On Thursday, Chairman Cho was questioned by prosecutors over allegations of tax evasion, breach of trust and embezzlement.

He is suspected of having evaded inheritance taxes on overseas assets from his late father and founder of the Hanjin Group, which includes Korean Air.

Cho Yang-ho chairs Hanjin Group.

In April, Korea’s customs service raided the Korean Air headquarters over suspicions that Cho’s family members smuggled luxury goods into the country without paying duties.


YONHAP