Bank worker hangs himself

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Bank worker hangs himself

A 37-year-old worker at the Tokyo branch of KB Kookmin Bank hanged himself Monday, authorities said, sending another shockwave through the country’s biggest lender, which has been mired in a series of fraudulent financial scandals in recent months.

The worker, identified by his surname Kim, was found in the building’s stock room on Monday, when the branch was investigated by the Financial Supervisory Service and its Japanese counterpart for its alleged issuance of illegal loans to two business groups.

Authorities said they are still looking into what prompted the man to take his own life.

The suicide came amid a prosecutors’ investigation into charges that two bankers at the Tokyo branch granted unauthorized loans to two Japan-based firms in return for billions of won in bribes.

The prosecutors previously said that the illegal loans - handed out by two former bankers identified only as Lee and Ahn - amounted to 180 billion won ($171.1 million).

The bankers are believed to have received kickbacks worth billions of won, some of which the prosecutors suspect was transferred to Korea and used to create slush funds to lobby government officials.

The fact that Kim worked on the branch’s loan service team has only enforced suspicions about the alleged irregularities there.

His death has dealt another public relations blow to the troubled mega bank, whose president, Lee Kun-ho, issued a public apology last month over a series of embezzlement and corruption scandals.


BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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