Weeks of bank withdrawals probed

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Weeks of bank withdrawals probed

Prosecutors investigating massive illegal withdrawals from Busan Savings Bank on Feb. 16, the day before it was suspended, have started looking into withdrawals made in the weeks before after discovering that financial regulators made the decision to suspend the bank on Jan. 25.

Woo Byung-woo, a prosecutor from the central investigation unit of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, said in a press briefing yesterday that his team will expand its investigation into customers who withdrew money from the bank between Jan. 25 and Feb. 15 to see if they were leaked inside information about the suspension.

The probe into withdrawals made on Feb. 16 continues.

“It was confirmed that a task force team of officials from the Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Financial Supervisory Service and the Financial Services Commission reviewed liquidity conditions of savings banks at a meeting on Jan. 25, and it decided to suspend Busan Savings Bank,” Woo told reporters. “It’s likely that information was leaked after the meeting.”

But the Financial Services Commission denied the prosecutor’s assertion and said it only decided to suspend Busan Savings Bank on Feb. 16.

Prosecutors will question customers who withdrew over 50 million won ($46,512) between Jan. 25 and Feb. 15.

In case of a bank’s collapse or suspension, deposits under 50 million won are guaranteed by the Korea Deposit Insurance Corp.

“We will focus on investigating how the information about the suspension was leaked during the 20 days before the suspension,” said another prosecutor at the central investigation unit of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office. “Our position is that anyone who is found to have been involved in the leaking of inside information will be investigated regardless of the person’s rank.”

Woo said, “People who withdrew under 50 million won can also be investigated if they turn out to have other accounts under fake names in the bank.”

Meanwhile, the Financial Services Commission released a statement yesterday flatly denying the prosecution’s claim that its task force decided on the suspension at the Jan. 25 meeting.

“The task force was examining the extent of deposit withdrawals and the liquidity of the bank every day because there were reported cases of bank runs since Samhwa Savings Bank was suspended on Jan. 14,” read the FSC statement. “In the Jan. 25 meeting, the officials calculated how long savings banks could continue operating if the bank runs continued and discussed ways to add liquidity to the savings banks.”

The FSC said its task force reached a decision to suspend Busan Savings Bank on Feb. 16.

The FSC also said it concluded that the bank could no longer be able to operate on Feb. 16.

By Cho Kang-soo, Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
중수부 ‘금융검찰’ 심장부 겨누다
검찰 “영업정지 3주 전부터 VIP 인출, 금융당국 정보유출 의심” … 금융위는 “사실과 다르다”
검찰이 금융당국 고위층을 통해 ‘저축은행 영업정지’ 정보가 유출된 의혹이 있다며 이 부분에 대한 본격적인 수사에 들어갔다. 대검찰청 중앙수사부는 11일 부산저축은행그룹 5개 계열은행의 특혜인출 의혹과 관련해 “이들 저축은행에 대한 영업정지가 발표되기 23일 전인 1월 25일 금융당국이 이미 영업정지 방침을 정한 것으로 확인됐다”며 “수사 대상을 대폭 확대하기로 했다”고 밝혔다.

 대검 관계자는 이날 “기본 방침 결정 후 영업정지 발표 때까지 20여 일간 금융당국에서 관련 정보가 어떻게 유출됐는지를 집중 조사할 것”이라고 말했다. 그는 “정보 유출에 연루된 사실이 드러날 경우 지위와 관계없이 누구든 수사할 방침”이라고 강조했다. 우병우 대검 수사기획관도 “지난 1월 25일 금융감독원과 금융위원회, 예금보험공사로 구성된 태스크포스(TF) 팀에서 저축은행 유동성 등을 점검한 뒤 부산저축은행그룹에 대해 영업정지 결정을 하기로 기본방침을 정한 것으로 조사됐다”며 “정보 유출도 그날 이후 이뤄졌을 가능성이 크다”고 말했다. 검찰은 이에 따라 금융위의 영업정지 발표 전날인 2월 16일 마감시간(오후 5시) 후 인출자로 국한돼 있던 수사 범위를 1월 25일 이후 5000만원 이상 인출자로 넓혔다.

 이에 대해 금융위원회는 “검찰 발표는 사실과 다르다”며 “1월 25일 저축은행 구조조정 TF가 부산저축은행의 영업정지 방침을 결정하지 않았다”고 밝혔다. 금융위는 “1월 14일 삼화저축은행 영업정지 이후 일부에서 예금 인출 사태가 발생해 TF가 매일 예금 인출 규모와 유동성 동향 등을 파악했다”며 “1월 25일에도 유동성을 지원하는 방안 등을 논의했을 뿐”이라고 설명했다.
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