Choi Eun-young, ex-CEO of Hanjin Shipping, has been charged with insider trading. South Korean prosecutors allege that Choi sold Hanjin shares when she learned that the company was in danger of collapse. Choi’s daughters, Cho Yoo Kyung, 30, and Cho Yoo Hong, 28, also sold stock before the restructuring announcement, but the charges did not mention the pair.
Hanjin had lost two thirds of its value by the time it filed for bankruptcy protection at the end of August. Choi was summoned by the authorities in June, two months after she sold the stock, and she cooperated with the investigation. She has maintained that she only sold her holding to settle personal debts, and that she had no prior knowledge of Hanjin’s situation. Choi has claimed that she was not well-qualified to head Hanjin Shipping and that she did not obtain the post on merit: she succeeded her husband in the role after his death. That admission is seen locally as evidence that South Korean traditional business practices are not suited to the modern world.
Subsequent to Hanjin’s bankruptcy filing, Choi paid $9m into a fund to help the carrier offload cargo left in limbo on Hanjin-owned and Hanjin-chartered vessels. She remains the chairwoman of Eusu Holdings, the parent company of freight forwarder Eusu Logistics, formerly a subsidiary of Hanjin.