Prominent college professor receives two-year jail sentence in Oxy trial

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : September 29, 2016, 14:42 | Updated : September 29, 2016, 14:42

[Photo by Namgung Jin-woong = timeid@]


A prominent veterinary college professor received a two-year jail sentence Thursday for covering up the harmfulness of humidifier disinfectants sold by the South Korean unit of a British firm that sparked a widespread health scare.

The court found the Seoul National University professor surnamed Cho guilty of writing academic papers, assigned by Oxy Reckitt Benckiser Korea, to refute a 2011 government report that revealed a possible association between the use of humidifier disinfectants and serious lung ailment.

Cho was also fined 25 million won (22,542 US dollars). The court said he violated research ethics for money to help Oxy cover up the toxicity of disinfectants.

He was the first to get a prison sentence in the high-profile case which has seen the arrests of a dozen people including two college professors and six from two major discount chains. 

Government data showed 103 people, including dozens of pregnant women and infants, were presumed to have died after using humidifier disinfectants produced by Oxy and other companies. Consumer groups have accused them of falsely advertising their products as safe.

Oxy has promised to set up a 10 billion won fund for the victims. But it has been widely vilified for covering up the harmfulness of its product.

Aju News Lim Chang-won = cwlim34@ajunes.com
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