Top Lee adviser resigns after link to bank scandal

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Top Lee adviser resigns after link to bank scandal

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Depositors who could not withdraw their money from Busan Savings Bank protest yesterday in front of Barun Law, a law firm defending Busan Savings Bank executives, in Daechi-dong, southern Seoul. By Kim Do-hun

The prosecution’s investigation into a massive web of corruption at the Busan Savings Bank Group reached Eun Jin-su, a commissioner at the Board of Audit and Inspection and a key ally of President Lee Myung-bak.

The 49-year-old former prosecutor submitted his resignation from the audit board yesterday. The Blue House accepted his resignation.

“The Blue House will sternly and thoroughly handle anyone involved in the Busan Savings Bank case whether he is a high-ranking official or a rank-and-file worker,” said Kim Hee-jung, spokeswoman of the president.

According to prosecution sources, Eun allegedly lobbied powerful politicians to stop the nation’s financial authorities from suspending Busan Savings Bank and its affiliates.

Eun served as legal advisor for Lee’s presidential campaign and Lee’s defense attorney during the BBK financial fraud scandal in 2007.

Busan Savings Bank Group, the biggest savings bank in the country, was officially suspended on Feb. 17 due to capital shortages triggered by insolvent project financing loans.

Since then, prosecutors have uncovered an iceberg of corrupt practices at the group, including the management and shareholders using the bank and its affiliates as personal piggy banks, cooking of books, bribing of financial regulators to keep them from looking too closely at the bank’s operations, and giving advance word to VIP customers to withdraw money before the suspension.

Yesterday, 21 of the bank’s shareholders and executives, including Chairman Park Yeon-ho, were arraigned at the Seoul Central District Court for financial crimes worth nearly 7.7 trillion won ($7.1 billion).

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Eun Jin-su

Angry bank customers who lost their deposits when the bank was shut, disrupted the courtroom despite the judge’s repeated demands for calm.

The bank is also suspected of running large slush funds to use for influence peddling with some of the 5 trillion won its executives took out in illegal construction and real estate loans.

Sources at the prosecution alleged yesterday that the bank had contacted top politicians and government officials through Eun.

After passing the bar exam in 1988, Eun briefly worked as a judge in 1991 before joining becoming a prosecutor the next year. He left the prosecution in 2001 and went into private practice as a lawyer.

Around that time, he became interested in politics and became the Grand National Party’s deputy spokesman in 2003. He ran on the GNP ticket in the 2004 legislative elections to represent Gangseo B District, but lost.

In 2007, he joined Lee’s presidential election campaign and defended him against accusations of financial fraud throughout the campaign. Eun also served as legal advisor for Lee’s transition team in 2008 after he won the election.

In February 2009, Eun was named one of six commissioners of the Board of Audit and Inspection, a vice ministerial post. According to the audit board, Eun submitted his resignation yesterday morning, citing “personal reasons.”

According to prosecution sources, Yun Yeo-seong, a lobbyist who was arrested in the Busan Savings Bank scandal, has begun talking under interrogation about the rise and fall of the bank.

Officials and powerful politicians of former and current administrations are involved in the scandal, sources quoted Yun as saying.

Yun, 56, worked as the “cleaner” for the bank’s troubles by using his network in legal, political and government circles, prosecution sources said, and was referred to as “Chairman Yun” at the bank.

After the Board of Audit and Inspection concluded a report early last year that the financial insolvency at five savings banks, including Busan Savings Bank, had reached a total of 2.6 trillion won and raised issues about their illegal loans, Yun lobbied fiercely to save the bank, sources said.

Sources said Yun had bragged about his friendship with Eun. He was arrested on May 17 and is under interrogation.


By Ser Myo-ja, Lee Dong-hyun [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
부산저축은행서 ‘물방울 다이아’ 받은 은진수 감사위원
1993년 슬롯머신 사건 때 이건개 구속시킨 ‘모래시계 검사’

김영삼 정부 시절인 1993년 5월. 서울지검 강력부는 ‘슬롯머신 사건’이란 대형 권력형 비리사건을 파헤쳤다. 당시 홍준표·은진수 검사(현 감사원 감사위원) 등은 정·관계의 유력자 14명을 슬롯머신 업계의 대부 격인 정덕진씨로부터 돈을 받은 혐의로 줄줄이 구속했다. 특히 ‘2년차 신출내기’였던 은 검사의 활약이 작지 않았다.

 “검찰이 형(정덕진)을 내사한다는 소문이 돌았어요. 당시 조직폭력 전담인 이건개 대검찰청 형사2부장에게 형에 대한 수사를 하지 말아 달라는 뜻으로 (5억원을) 줬습니다.”

 정덕진씨의 동생 덕일씨로부터 이건개 당시 대전고검장의 구속으로까지 이어진 이 진술을 끌어낸 사람이 은 검사였다. 이 사건은 이후 TV 드라마 ‘모래시계’의 모티브가 됐다.

 그러나 18년 전 ‘모래시계 검사’의 처지가 역전됐다. 2000년대 중반 변호사 시절 그는 부패방지위원·국가청렴위원으로도 활동했다. 검사·감사위원·부방위원 등 반부패에 관한 자리는 모조리 역임한 그가 저축은행과 관련한 수뢰 혐의로 검찰의 부름을 기다리게 된 것이다. 검찰 수사가 노무현 정부 인사에 이어 현 정부 인사에까지 전방위로 확대되고 있는 양상이다.

 김황식 총리가 “(2010년) 감사원장으로 있을 때 저축은행 부실 프로젝트파이낸싱(PF) 문제를 감사했더니 오만 군데에서 압력이 들어오더라”고 말한 것과 관련, 그가 ‘오만 군데’의 한 곳이 아니냐는 의혹도 제기되고 있다. 감사원 측은 부인하고 있지만 말이다.


 그를 오랫동안 알아 왔던 이들은 그의 ‘인생 역전’에 “믿기 어렵다”고 말을 잃었다. 홍준표 한나라당 의원도 “할 말이 없다”고 착잡해했다. 그는 부산상고 출신으로 고교 시절엔 법조인을 꿈꾸다 경영학도로 방향을 틀었다. 서울대 경영학과 3학년 때 공인회계사 시험에 합격, 6년여간 회계법인에서 일하다 88년 사법시험에 합격했다(사법시험 30회). 그는 사석에서 “당시 부산상고 15년 선배였던 노무현 전 대통령에게 (사법시험 도전 여부를) 상의한 일이 있다”고도 했었다. 91년 판사로 임용됐으나 이듬해 검사로 ‘전직’, 2000년까지 일했다.

 2002년 2월 한나라당의 서울 강서을 지구당위원장을 맡으면서 정계에 입문했다. 17대 총선에선 낙선했으나 소장파 모임인 미래연대 회원으로 활동했고, 서울시장이던 이명박 대통령과의 인연도 그 무렵 맺었다.

 2007년 경선·대선 국면에서 이 대통령에 대한 네거티브 공세가 격화되자 그는 최전방에 섰다. 특히 ‘BBK 대책반장’을 맡으면서 이 대통령의 핵심 측근으로 떠올랐다.

 선거 공신으로 대통령직 인수위원회 상임자문위원을 지냈으나 2008년 18대 총선에선 서울 강동구와 고향인 부산 출마를 놓고 고민하다 공천을 받지 못했다. 대신 이듬해 감사원 감사위원에 임명됐다. 그는 학창 시절 헌책을 뒤져야 했을 정도로 가난하게 컸으나 2010년 자신과 부인 명의로 아파트(3채·12억4000여만원), 예금(18억원), 주식(5억여원) 등 51억6815만7000원의 재산을 신고했다. 감사원에서 가장 재산이 많았다.

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