FSS to launch criminal investigation division

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FSS to launch criminal investigation division

The country’s financial watchdog will establish a new unit for criminal investigations into capital market law violations.

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) announced its plan late Wednesday in a post on its website that outlined the laws and regulations of the body. The team will be led by vice chairman of the agency and will collaborate with the prosecution when needed, according to the statement.

The proposal would also give the body a wide range of investigative powers, including issuing travel bans, requesting arrest warrants, arrests without warrant and tracking of bank accounts and communications of suspects when there is probable cause.

Information tracking and the travel ban can only be used if the FSS gains prior approval from the prosecution.

Yet the move provoked the Financial Services Commission (FSC), the country’s top financial regulator, apparently because expanding the FSS’ role could conflict with its authority. Multiple local media outlets reported that officials from FSC have expressed discontent over the abrupt reveal of the plan. The FSS defended this, saying that the agenda was widely agreed upon by the FSC.

“The FSS made an agreement based on the organizational structure and staffing of the special investigation team,” the FSS said in a statement on Thursday. Still, it acknowledged there are some parts of the plan left to be ironed out.

“[The FSS] will continue to discuss [with the FSC] over the issues under disagreement,” the watchdog said.

Observers see the tension as the latest in a series of conflicts between the two regulators. The two agencies didn’t see eye to eye on different cases, including the accounting scandal at Samsung BioLogics.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]
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