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Former Oxy CEO gets 7-year term for toxic humidifier sterilizers

All News 11:55 January 06, 2017

By Choi Soo-hyang

SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court on Friday sentenced a former head of Oxy Reckitt Benckiser to seven years in prison, more than five years after the scandal over the household goods maker's toxic humidifier sterilizers came to light.

The Seoul Central District Court convicted Shin Hyun-woo, 68, of selling the products without going through due safety checks, and affecting 181 people, including the deaths of 73.

The 68-year-old headed the company from 1991 to 2005. Oxy started selling the sterilizers here in 2001.

John Lee, the CEO of Google Korea, who formerly headed the local unit of the British company, was acquitted of all charges due to a lack of evidence. The state prosecution had sought 10 years in prison for Lee.

The court ordered Oxy Korea to pay 150 million won (US$126,000) in fines.

The humidifier disinfectant case, one of the worst scandals involving consumer products using chemicals, came to light after four pregnant women died of lung problems for unknown reasons in 2011.

A government-led investigation later confirmed a connection between scores of people who died of lung problems and the chemicals used to clean household humidifiers.

In this file photo taken on June 13, 2016, members of civic consumers' groups cross out the images of the products of Oxy Reckitt Benckiser at a news conference calling for the suspension of marketing the products in front of a supermarket in Daejeon, 164 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)


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