Investigation into Kosdaq-listed display equipment maker Leed Corp. and its shareholder Lime Asset Management Co. that caused major losses to retail investors has hit a snag after a prime suspect has gone into hiding.
A Seoul district court judge has issued a fugitive warrant for Lee Jong-phil after the former senior vice president of Lime Asset Management did not comply with prosecution summoning. An arrest warrant had been issued a week ago for Lee and a stock broker surnamed Shin. A questioning was to be held before the arrest but the accused reportedly went into hiding.
Lee has been under investigation for his link to a financial crime at Leed, whose former and incumbent executives allegedly embezzled about 80 billion won ($68 million) company funds. A prosecution investigation has revealed that Lime Asset Management became the largest shareholder of the display equipment maker through multiple convertible bonds purchase transactions. The prosecutors are also examining whether there had been any unfair trade practices in the process of multiple ownership changes at Leed. Lee is also accused of embezzling billions of won from companies that his former employer invested in or worked with.
The interruption in the probe could also complicate the deferred payment of 1.5 trillion won by Lime Asset Management in the funds that have matured.
By Kim Yoo-sin and Cho Jeehyun
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