Woori employee allegedly embezzled $47 million
An employee of Woori Bank was arrested Thursday for allegedly embezzling more than 60 billion won ($47 million).
Namdaemun Police Station in central Seoul arrested the employee after he was questioned and allegedly confessed late Wednesday.
The bank filed a criminal complaint with the police earlier Wednesday after it lost contact with the employee. According to media reports, the alleged embezzlement was done on three occasions from 2012 to 2018.
Woori Bank did not confirm any specifics in the case.
The money apparently came from a deposit paid by Iranian electronics manufacturer Entekhab to acquire Daewoo Electronics.
In 2010, Entekhab Industrial Group was named a preferred bidder for Daewoo Electronics in a deal that was supposed to involve 57.8 billion won. But the deal fell through.
Woori Bank was the lead bank for the deal and the employee is suspected to have siphoned off part of the deposit.
Woori Financial Group shares closed flat on Wednesday at 15,300 won after falling as much as 6.21 percent in intraday trading. Woori Bank is a subsidiary of Woori Financial Group.
Korea Exchange halts trading of a company when 5 percent or more of a listed company’s total capital is embezzled. For companies with more than 2 trillion won in assets, the percentage is lowered to 2.5 percent.
This amount doesn't come near that threshold. Woori Financial Group’s total capital exceeded 28 trillion won as of last year.
“First off, Woori Bank is not a listed company,” said a spokesperson for the Korea Exchange. “And secondly, 50 billion won is not a big amount compared to the total capital of Woori Financial Group.”
But the authorities are not taking the case lightly.
The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said Thursday it will immediately audit the bank’s headquarters in central Seoul to understand the case.
“The fact that such incident happened at a bank could spread concerns,” said a spokesperson for the FSS. “The incident may suggest that there may be internal problems with its system. But until the audit is completed, we cannot make any conclusions.”
BY JIN MIN-JI [email@example.com]