Body found, likely former bank manager

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Body found, likely former bank manager

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Authorities believe the body found inside a completely burned car parked at Unkyung Memorial Park in Yangju, Gyeonggi, was that of the former manager of Woori Bank Tokyo branch, who was accused of illegal moneylending. [NEWSIS]

A body believed to be that of the former bank manager of Woori Bank’s Tokyo branch was found inside a completely burned car on Tuesday night in Yangju, Gyeonggi, according to sources.

The branch has been under investigation over allegations of illegal money lending. Authorities suspect the victim may have committed suicide as a result of newly emerging evidence in the case.

According to the CCTV footage, the former branch head, only identified by his surname Kim, went to his office as usual on Tuesday morning and then drove to his mother’s grave at Unkyung Memorial Park in Jangheung-myeon at around 11:30 a.m., without alerting his employees.

At 5:38 p.m., his wife and two daughters reportedly received the same text message, which stated simply, “I love you forever.”

One of his daughters reportedly called 112 to report her father’s disappearance. By the time police traced Kim’s cell phone location, the car was already burning. “The dead body was hard to identify because of the severe damage,” a source at the Yangju police station said. “It was determined that the car was Kim’s based on its license-plate number,” the source added.

Firefighters reportedly found pieces of bone in the remains, a sample of which was sent to the National Forensic Service for DNA testing to accurately identify the victim and determine the cause of death.

“So far, we highly suspect he killed himself based on circumstantial evidence - charcoal briquette ashes were beside [the body], and he sent text messages to his family before killing himself,” the source said.

No suicide note has been found so far in the debris or Kim’s residence in Ilsan, Gyeonggi, though police will continue their investigation.

Kim worked as a manager of Woori Bank’s Tokyo branch last year before he returned to Korea to serve as a bank executive. He was under investigation by the Financial Supervisory Service on suspicions that he and other officials received kickbacks in return for illegal loans.

“The critical evidence on illegal loan has been revealed during the prosecution on Woori Bank Tokyo Branch,” said Lee Sang-gu, a general bank prosecution official of the Financial Supervisory Service. “He must have felt burdened by the consequences.”

The financial watchdog was investigating Woori Bank’s Tokyo branches following similar irregularities at Kookmin Bank’s Tokyo branch.

BY LEE JI-SANG, AHN JI-HYUN AND JO SOO-MIN [enational@joongang.co.kr]


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