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Financial Supervisory Service seized and searched again

Posted September. 23, 2017 07:22,   

Updated September. 23, 2017 07:40


The Financial Supervisory Service has been in a controversy for another confiscation warrant from the Prosecutor's Office, following a heated debate for its preferential treatment in the hiring process in January this year

Seoul Southern District Prosecutor's Office seized and searched the financial agency’s headquarters at 10:10 a.m. on Friday. The five departments under scrutiny include First Senior Deputy Governor Seo Tae-jong's office, Planning and Management Department led by Senior Deputy Governor Lee Byung-sam, and the General Affairs Team. Houses of Seo, Lee, and a mid-level executive named Lee were also under scrutiny as well.

According to prosecutors, the three executives are suspected of obstruction of work and wrongful exercise of authority by changing employment standards when hiring new employees in 2016. At that time, the financial watchdog picked one additional unplanned candidate for each three openings in economy, business management and legal affairs positions during the first screening process. Prosecutors believe the suspects intervened in the recruiting process to cherry-pick specific candidates.

The Board of Audit and Inspection has found during their audit that Lee received a request to give preferential treatment to a specific person to secure a job position from a former Financial Supervisory Service executive to "admit his friend's son." As a result, the son of a government-run bank president, who originally was far from securing the position, landed on a job at the agency. Moreover, other three back burners also passed the final screening thanks to the unplanned reference check at their interviews. The Board of Audit and Inspection assumes 16 candidates were deprived of their opportunities during their application. In July, BAI requested for a prosecutors' investigation on three possible suspects including Seo.

A dark shadow has casted on the financial agency, as the confiscation already comes as the second one this year. In January, it was seized and searched by prosecutors for hiring the son of a former FSS executive as an experienced lawyer. Many employees were embarrassed, while watching the confiscation under way. Some argued the recent investigation should be taken as an opportunity to reflect itself. "The Financial Supervisory Service should look back on their past and check whether they were too complacent at the top of the food chain and showed lack of internal control," said an insider at the financial agency.

Dong-Hyuk Kim hack@donga.com · Choong-Hyun Song balgun@donga.com