Banpo jumper arrested in KB probe

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Banpo jumper arrested in KB probe

Authorities looking into a corruption scandal resumed their investigation Tuesday by arresting a key suspect who jumped off Banpo Bridge earlier this month.

Yoon Euy-kook, chairman of Koryo Credit Information (KCI), is being questioned by the prosecution on suspicion that he embezzled from his company and bribed former KB Financial Group chairman Lim Young-rok to win an IT project for a KCI subsidiary that Yoon was the fourth largest shareholder of.

The prosecution also raided KCI on Oct. 30, which appears to be part of a bigger probe into other corruption allegations, including possible bribery behind Kookmin Bank’s plan to change its computer system.

Yoon and Lim have been acquainted for more than 10 years since they first worked together in the Ministry of Finance and Economy. Kim Jae-yeol, the former executive finance director of KB and an aide of Lim’s, reportedly told the prosecution that Lim went along with Yoon’s request.

The prosecution said it will decide whether to request a pre-trial detention warrant for Yoon by Thursday. The investigation was put on hold after Yoon jumped into the Han River from the northern end of Banpo Bridge on Nov. 2.

But participants in a walking festival who were passing through the lower deck spotted his jump and called the police. Yoon was rescued and taken to nearby Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital. At first he refused to identify himself, but his wallet was found in a jacket he left on the bridge. Police talked to his wife and chauffeur and concluded that Yoon tried to take his life because of the investigation into him and his company. The prosecution was investigating corruption related to former KB chairman Lim when Yoon jumped off the bridge.

Lim stepped down from his executive director position after he was alleged to have intervened in the Kookmin Bank board’s decision to change the bank’s main computer system. Lim is suspected to have been involved in other corrupt activities as well.

The investigation and suicide attempt is also having an impact on KCI, which mainly collect debts and provides credit information, because the company may be delisted if the amount of money Yoon has embezzled or illegally used for malpractices is over a billion won ($90,286), or 3 percent of equity capital.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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