A Korea Gas Corporation official is accused of using insider information for the purpose of personal gains. Photo courtesy of Korea Gas Corporation

KOGAS comes under criticism for belated measures

Over the past few months, the Korea Land & Housing Corp came under fire as its employees allegedly misused insider information on development projects for property speculation.

This time around, another state-backed agency of the Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) comes to the fore as its employee is suspected of committing similar misdeeds.

Terrestrial TV station MBC recently reported that the KOGAS employee was in charge of purchasing two apartments last October in Daegu, some 240 kilometers south of Seoul, for official residences.

The problem was that the two apartments were owned by his wife, who purchased them in advance to earn tens of millions of profits based on insider information.

MBC also reported that the employee faces charges of embezzlement.

The broadcaster blasted the KOGAS that the corporation took a belated measure _ it discovered the wrongdoings late last year but only recently suspended him.

When contacted, a KOGAS spokesman admitted that there were such problematic transactions of apartments last year but refused to elaborate.

“We reported the case to police in Daegu, and internal probes are also underway. Hence, we cannot make detailed remarks,” the spokesman said.

“The investigations are expected to finish later this month. Then, we will be able to disclose details.”

KOGAS is the country’s public natural gas company, which was set up by the Korean government in 1983. It has grown into one of the major LNG-importing outfits in the world.

It has a stake in the Prelude floating LNG facility in Australia, which is the largest floating production structure in the globe. Included in other investors is the global giant Shell.

CEO Chae Hee-bong is leading the outfit, which is also listed in the country’s benchmark KOSPI market. Its market capitalization is around $2.7 billion as of May 3.

On the day, the entity gained 0.76 percent to finish 33,350 won. It is the 105th-biggest company in the KOSPI market in terms of market capitalization.