Woori’s Sohn seeks injunction against the regulator

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Woori’s Sohn seeks injunction against the regulator

Woori Financial Group Chairman Sohn Tae-seung is taking the regulator the court in an effort to maintain his position as the leader of Korea’s fifth largest financial group by assets.

According to Woori Financial Group Monday, the chairman filed for an injunction against the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) over a reprimand lodged against him by the regulator.

He filed for the injunction at the Seoul Administrative Court and is represented by Kim & Chang and Yoon & Yang.

Under the conditions of the reprimand, Sohn is not allowed to be reappointed to his current position for a period of three years. He is allowed to finish his current term.

The court can issue an injunction if it is found that the party would be harmed by the action against it. Decisions are usually rendered in a week or two.

If the court issues the injunction, the reprimand of Sohn could be temporarily suspended.

Chairman Sohn is seeking to delay the implementation of the reprimand until after the company’s shareholder meeting, which is scheduled for March 25 and where Sohn is to get the final approval on his reappointed as the group chairman.

If the court does not issue an injunction in time, Sohn cannot be reappointed.

Sohn also initiated a suit against the FSS seeking to nullify the reprimand. It could take years for the court to decide, which is why an injunction was requested.

The financial company is claiming that holding a single executive responsible for the lack of internal controls in a specific department is not fair. It also claims that the reprimand is too heavy a sanction, as the lender has been faithfully rolling out a compensation plan to make good on investor losses.

Reprimand is related to a scandal in which Hana Bank and Woori Bank employees pushed high-risk investment funds on clients without properly informing them about the dangers of buying into those funds.

On Wednesday, the Financial Services Commission upheld the reprimand, which was earlier issued by the FSS, as well as fines against the institutions.

Woori Bank was fined 19.7 billion won ($16.6 million).

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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