ABB: A Bad Break

ABB uncovers criminal activity in its South Korea subsidiary

ABB has uncovered a “sophisticated criminal scheme”, related to a significant embezzlement and misappropriation of funds in its South Korean subsidiary ABB Korea, the company reported February 22. The amount is estimated to be around 100 million dollars.

The man responsible for the scheme is reportedly Oh Myeong-Se, who was treasurer of ABB Korea. Myeong-Se is suspected of forging documentation and colluding with third parties to steal from the company. After leaving for Hong Kong February 4, the company lost contact with him for the next four days. He was then officially regarded as missing on February 7, 2017, compelling the company to investigate. ABB subsequently discovered significant financial irregularities at the South Korean subsidiary. The company immediately launched a full investigation in South Korea engaging independent forensic and legal specialists and collaborating with law enforcement authorities. ABB is working with the local police on the investigation and Interpol’s engagement.

Oh, in his late 50s, left for Hong Kong on Feb.4, four days before the company filed a complaint against the executive with the South Korean police, a police official said on Thursday.

The company claimed that he embezzled a combined 35.7 billion won ($31.31 million) in 73 transactions, the official said, adding that police were investigating the man’s accounts.

Group Chief Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer described the alleged fraud as “shocking news”, which he said could harm the power equipment and industrial firm’s reputation.

“The entire ABB group – all 132,000 of us – will have to live with the consequences,” Spiesshofer told staff in a letter after the company said it had uncovered significant embezzlement and misappropriation of funds at its South Korean subsidiary.

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