Image: Osstem Implant corporate headquarters. Credit: Osstem Implant.
South Korea’s stock markets reacted in shock on January 3, the first day of the market in the new year, when shares of Osstem Implant 오스템임플란트, manufacturer of dental implants, suddenly stopped trading when it was revealed that the company’s head of finances embezzled KRW 188b (USD 156m). The case is the largest embezzlement case involving a listed company in the history of South Korea’s financial market; the embezzled money represents nearly 92% of Osstem’s equity.
The head of finance was arrested on January 5 in Paju, Gyeonggi-do Province 경기도 파주. Most of the money - KRW 143b (USD 119m) - was invested in shares of Dongjin Semichem 동진쎄미켐, a chemical manufacturer for semiconductor production materials, as well as a large amount of gold bars. The head of finance claimed that he was acting under the orders from his boss; the company denied the claim.