The logo of Swiss engineering group ABB is seen at a plant in Zurich
Seoul - Swiss engineering group ABB said this week that it fell victim to a “sophisticated criminal scheme” at its South Korean subsidiary, with the chief suspect an executive responsible for ethics training.

The executive, named by a source in South Korea as Oh Myeong-se, was treasurer and one of two integrity ombudsmen for ABB Korea - to whom staff were supposed to report any ethical concerns - according to an online company magazine available on ABB’s Korean website.

He was also the head of compliance at ABB in Korea until 2010, said a source familiar with the investigation, a role that carries responsibility for maintaining legal and ethical integrity.

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The executive was suspected of forging documents and colluding with third parties to steal funds, ABB said, estimating it would take a pre-tax charge of about $100 million (R1.3 billion) for the affair, which analysts said raised concerns about its corporate oversight.

Oh disappeared on February 7 and ABB subsequently discovered significant financial irregularities, the company said. Oh left for Hong Kong days before the company filed a complaint against the executive with the South Ko-rean police. -