According to South Korea's Newsway, KT&G won the final victory after going through the first and second trials in a lawsuit against a reporter and other media for unfair reporting of its subsidiary's merger and acquisition process.
Legal sources said that on November 30, the 1st Civil Division of the Supreme Court confirmed that in the damages appeal filed by KT&G against former reporter Kang Jin-gu of "Gyeonghyang Shimbun", the original court made a dismissal judgment in favor of the plaintiff.
Dismissal without prejudice is a system in which the Supreme Court dismisses an appeal without hearing the merits of the case.
Previously, Kang published an article titled "KT&G Suspected of Concealing the Toxicity of New Drugs and Forcing an Improper Merger" in "Jingxiang Shimbun" on February 26, 2020.
The article stated that KT&G concealed the toxicity test results of KT&G Life Sciences’ new drug substances, and when promoting the merger of its subsidiary Yongjin Pharmaceutical in 2016, it manipulated the merger ratio by inflating the enterprise value.
The article also stated that KT&G Life Sciences had an illegal behind-the-scenes agreement, that is, if the initial public offering of the merger failed, investors in KT&G Life Sciences would be compensated for their investments, and the president of Yongjin Pharmaceuticals, who opposed the merger, was dismissed and replaced by KT&G headquarters. people take their place.
In response, KT&G filed a damages lawsuit against Kang and others, claiming that these were false statements that damaged its social evaluation.
In August 2022, the trial court recognized that the report was of public interest but ruled that there was no reason to believe that Jiang’s claims of behind-the-scenes agreements and concealment of toxicity tests were true. The court also sided with KT&G, noting that the report not only failed to raise doubts but instead used conclusive language that defamed KT&G and that the rebuttal was unbalanced.
In the second instance held in July this year, the court stated: "The articles written by former reporter Kang, including 'reaching an agreement with investors,' 'unfair dismissal of management cadres,' and 'concealing genetic toxicity,' etc., constituted falsehoods," the first instance ruling said. Justifiable, therefore the defendant's appeal is dismissed as untenable."
On November 30, the Supreme Court dismissed the case without reason, and the litigation that lasted for three years and 10 months ended with KT&G's final victory.