Police raid financial watchdog

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Police raid financial watchdog

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency yesterday said it raided the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) on Wednesday and seized the e-mail records and smartphone of one of its employees, who allegedly aided in a large-scale loan scam by leaking the details of the financial watchdog’s internal probe.

The scandal also involves an employee at KT ENS, a subsidiary of the country’s No. 2 mobile carrier, and eight of its subcontractors, who were found to have borrowed 1.8 trillion won ($1.6 billion) and embezzled 289.4 billion won in loans over the past five years.

The police are analyzing the FSS e-mail account logs of the 50-year-old employee, surnamed Kim, from Jan. 1 to Feb. 16. They are also questioning Internet portal companies and have search warrants to seek out other e-mail accounts Kim may have had.

According to authorities, after the FSS launched its internal probe into the loan fraud, Kim was tipped off by another FSS official about the investigation and subsequently gave that information to the subcontractors, including Seo Jeong-gi, the 44-year-old president of Joongang TNC.

If Kim is found to have breached confidentiality protocol, he could face up to three years in prison or up to a 20 million won fine.

Police added that Kim is believed to have met with the subcontractors two days later and discussed countermeasures against the investigation. The FSS official who told Kim about the investigation is not believed to be involved in the case.

The police said they are also checking the call history in his smartphone to determine any other possible missteps. The police have banned Kim from leaving the country.

BY KIM BONG-MOON, LEE YU-JUNG [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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