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Bakery giant SPC chief detained for questioning

April 2, 2024 - 15:23 By Choi Jeong-yoon
SPC Group Chair Hur Young-in leaves the Seoul Central District Court on Feb. 2, after being acquitted of charges related to evading gift taxes through undervalued share transactions. (Lim Sae-jun/The Korea Herald)

Prosecutors arrested Hur Young-in, chair of South Korean bakery giant SPC Group, after he repeatedly failed to comply with being summoned for an investigation.

The 74-year-old is under investigation for his suspected involvement in forcing bakers at PB Partners to quit their membership in the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions umbrella labor group, between 2019 and 2022.

PB Partners is SPC's subsidiary in charge of recruiting and training bakers for bakery chain Paris Baguette.

Prosecutors' action comes after Hur disobeyed orders to show up for prosecution questioning on Monday, citing health issues.

Hur had already failed to comply with prosecutions' orders for summoning three times last month. He eventually appeared before the prosecution on March 25, but the questioning session was cut short after an hour due to complaints of chest pains.

Hur's side reportedly cited health issues, telling the prosecution he was hospitalized for health issues and unable to appear for questioning.

On Tuesday, officials at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office detained Hur for questioning after a court issued a detention warrant on charges of violating the trade union act, the office said.

Prosecutors suspect SPC Group was also involved in imposing personnel disadvantages on employees affiliated with the KCTU.

Last month, prosecutors indicted SPC Group's CEO Hwang Jae-bok under physical detention on charges connected to the investigation and for bribing a prosecution investigator, citing concerns he could destroy evidence.

Hwang is accused of colluding with a senior company official to offer goods and services to a prosecution investigator in exchange for information on an investigation into the SPC chair in 2020. Hur was under investigation on charges of violating fair trade laws and breach of duty for alleged embezzlement for selling shares of a subsidiary under value, for which he was acquitted last month.

Prosecutors reportedly secured a statement from Hwang that he had undertaken such actions under the instruction of the SPC chair.