Police seizes gold and assets of Osstem bookkeeper charged with embezzlement

2022.01.13 14:11:25 | 2022.01.13 14:12:30

[Photo by Park Hyung-ki]이미지 확대

[Photo by Park Hyung-ki]

South Korean police has recovered all 855 gold bars the bookkeeper of Osstem Implant Co. had bought with the money he had stolen from the company that had brought about shameful stock suspension and possible delisting crisis for the top dental implant brand and his father’s death.

The suspect under the surname Lee, the former head of Osstem Implant’s financial management team, was arrested on Jan. 8 for embezzling 221.5 billion won ($186.3 million). Lee bought 855 gold bars at the Paju branch of the Korea Gold Exchange and out of the 855 gold bars, he left four at the Korea Gold Exchange and tried to hide the remaining 851 gold bars.

The police confiscated 497 gold bars when they arrested Lee and found 254 additional gold bars at Lee’s father’s house on Tuesday. Lee’s father committed suicide on the day that the police found gold bars. According to reports, Lee was extremely shaken upon hearing the news of his father’s death and confessed to the hiding of the rest.

Police found the gold bars in an empty space next to a building owned by Lee’s sister. Lee’s sister and sister-in-law have both been booked by the police for colluding in the embezzlement and for stashing criminal proceeds.

The police announced on the same day that they have now recovered most of the embezzled funds by finding all the gold bars. Lee used 188 billion won from the embezzled funds to purchase real estate, gold bars, and stocks.

“There was a loss of 76.1 billion won out of the 188 billion won,” said the police. “We were able to recover 25.2 billion won by freezing his security account and we have also confiscated 751 kilograms of gold and 440 million won in cash.

The police also plan to apply for a preservation of confiscated property before the indictment.

The police also raided the headquarters of Osstem Implant on Wednesday to find evidence of possible accomplices.

The biggest Kosdaq scandal has led to multiple whammies for the company – trade suspension, review for stock delisting, probe by financial authorities and class suits by investors.

By Kim Jung-seok and Susan Lee

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