South Korea launches Hynix probe

Who was responsible for its losses?

Having faced European Union and US Department of Commerce probes, Hynix is now under investigation by the South Korean government.

A report in South Korean paper Chosun Ibo yesterday claimed the Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. (KDIC) - the government's corporate liquidation agency - wants to see whether past and present Hynix employees are responsible for the huge losses the company has suffered. The paper cited a KDIC official as its source.

KDIC's interest in the matter arises from the public money it provided Hynix's creditor banks after Hynix allegedly passed KRW 730 billion ($635 million) of losses on to its creditors.

The implication is that if individuals are found to have been responsible for the losses, they will be billed by KDIC for the sums involved.

KDIC's action forms an interesting addendum to the EU and DoC investigations. Those probes concluded that Hynix had received illegal government aid in the form of a bail-out package provided by its banking creditors. Since many of those banks were part-owned by the South Korean government, the rescue funding amounted to state help.

Hynix rejects such a verdict. It says that its rescue plan was backed by many banks who have no connection to the South Korean administration. Possibly, but the KDIC's use of public money allegedly to help creditors cope with Hynix losses casts the memory maker's relationship with the South Korean government in new light. ®