FSS chief apologizes over irregularities in hiring

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FSS chief apologizes over irregularities in hiring

The chief of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) apologized Tuesday over the financial regulator’s alleged irregularities in hiring employees that are related to influential figures, including politicians and senior bankers.

The FSS has been under fire after state auditors found last month that a senior FSS official gave a special favor to some job candidates who are relatives of a then-lawmaker and a top financial executive between late 2015 and early 2016.

Choe Heung-sik, governor of the FSS, made the apology during a parliamentary audit session.

“I think it’s very regretful,” Choe said of the alleged irregularities in hiring.

Choe said the FSS is pushing for reforms to regain trust from people and improve its role as a financial regulator.

Another former senior FSS official was sentenced to one year in prison for pulling strings for a former politician’s son to be hired as a lawyer at the FSS.

Prosecutors suspect there may be other similar cases involving more former and current FSS officials.

During the parliamentary audit, Rep. Sim Sang-jeung of the progressive Justice Party, a former presidential candidate, raised allegations that Woori Bank gave special favors to 16 new employees last year.

The new employees appeared to be the children or relatives of senior FSS officials, the National Intelligence Service or one of the bank’s major clients, Sim said.

The government holds a roughly 18-percent stake in Woori Bank, the nation’s No. 3 lender.

The FSS plans to request that Woori Bank begin its own probe into the allegations and will consider investigating the bank if necessary, Choe said.

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