Former Oxy Reckitt Benckiser CEO wanted for concealing damaging test results

Posted on : 2016-06-04 14:35 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Prosecutors considering extradition of Gaurav Jain, an Indian national who has not answered a summons
John Lee
John Lee

While Gaurav Jain was CEO of Oxy Reckitt Benckiser, the South Korean company covered up multiple reports about damaging test results from overseas, South Korea’s public prosecutors have confirmed. Jain, a 47-year-old Indian national, is currently refusing to answer a summons by the prosecutors.

The special team of investigators from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office that is in charge of the Oxy humidifier disinfectant case confirmed on June 3 that Oxy asked four overseas laboratories to carry out inhalation toxicity tests in early 2012.

The team of prosecutors has also acquired the results of the Oxy texts from three of these four labs. The two reports that Oxy handed over to the prosecutors were prepared by American companies, while the other report was prepared by an Indian company.

All three of these reports concluded that the humidifier disinfectant, which contains the chemical PHMG (polyhexamethylene guanidine), was toxic.

Oxy had concealed the existence of these damaging reports, but the prosecutors discovered them during a raid that it conducted on the company.

Oxy requested these tests and covered up their results while Gaurav Jain was the company’s CEO. The prosecutors think that Jain was likely briefed by the country about the problematic lab results.

Currently, Jain is refusing to cooperate with the prosecutors’ summons because he is “busy.”

Jain used the Indian media to express his hope that the prosecutors will understand that he is unable to travel to South Korea, the prosecutors said. He also reportedly expressed his intention to take other necessary steps to cooperate with the investigation and that he will continue talking with the investigating authorities.

The prosecutors are planning to contact Jain by email next week and to question him in writing.

“Extradition is an option, but the procedure is complicated and difficult. We will keep working to bring Jain into custody,” the prosecutors said.

The prosecutors have also sent summonses to the attorneys of six foreign nationals who are connected with the incident. Three of them have refused to comply with the summons while two of them have not sent a response, the prosecutors said. The prosecutors have not confirmed the location of the sixth individual.

“We are thinking about sending emails to the five individuals whose contact information we have confirmed and questioning them over email,” the prosecutors said.

By Seo young-ji, staff reporter

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