Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, 10 Hyundai execs sued for plunder before DoJ
A slew of criminal charges that included a non-bailable complaint for plunder have been filed against Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and several officers of Hyundai Motor Company and Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) over the P1.1 billion tax incentives granted to the Korean firm.
In a 13-page complaint, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) sued Lopez along with 10 other Hyundai officers for plunder, estafa, and technical smuggling.
The other respondents were Mong-Koo Chung, Won-Hee Lee, Yong-Suk Lee, Richard L. Lee, Edward S. Go, Conrado G. Marty, Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, Eleazar B. Reyes, Ladislao Z. Avila Jr., and Christina B. Salvador.
VACC charged Lopez for allegedly giving preferential and favorable treatment to HARI.
The suit was lodged despite an order from the Board of Investments (BOI) requiring HARI to return the P1.1 billion tax incentives to the government.
The controversy started when HARI was accused of non-compliance with the Motor Vehicle Development Program (MVDP).
HARI’s manufacturing plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna was inspected by the BOI last year and it was discovered that Hyundai doesn’t have the necessary facilities for a car assembly plant.
As a result, BOI cancelled HARI’s registration in the MVDP and ordered it to return the tax breaks it was previously granted.
But according to the VACC, Lopez “unjustly favored” HARI when it delayed the resolution of HARI’s motion for reconsideration.
“From the inordinate delay in the resolution of HARI’s motion for reconsideration, to the additional time given to HARI to implement assembly processes of welding and painting, respondent Lopez gravely abused his position as BOI chairman, to favor the interest of HARI, and minimize whatever possible charges the latter may face,” the complaint read in part.