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(LEAD) Corporate watchdog probing unfair biz practices at Korean Air

All Headlines 16:11 April 24, 2018

(ATTN: CHANGES attribution; ADDS more details paras 1-3)

SEJONG, April 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's corporate watchdog said Tuesday that it is investigating unfair business practices at Korean Air Lines Co. and its affiliates, whose founding family members are under fire for abusing employees and contractors.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said since Friday, it has conducted an on-site probe into the airline's in-flight duty free business to look into whether relatives of the company's chief reaped unfair profits. A total of 30 staff have been mobilized for the investigation, the FTC said.

In 2016, the FTC imposed a fine of 1.43 billion won (US$1.2 million) on Korean Air Lines for similar unfair practices involving two of its affiliates.

The FTC's probe is the latest move directed at the country's leading air carrier.

The customs office on Monday carried out a search of Korean Air Lines's headquarters over suspicions that the family members of Chairman Cho Yang-ho sneaked luxury goods into South Korea without paying duties.

The move came a day after Cho Yang-ho offered a public apology over the mounting public outrage over his daughter, Cho Hyun-min, who is accused of having thrown water in the face of an ad agency manager during a meeting last month.

She is the younger sister of Cho Hyun-ah, who gained global notoriety for the "nut rage" incident in 2014. She forced a plane back to the boarding gate at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport because she was upset with the way her nuts were served -- in an unopened bag instead of on a plate.

On Sunday, the chairman removed his two daughters from all their posts at the airline and its affiliates.

The logo of Korean Air Lines at its main office in Seoul (Yonhap)


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