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Vice President Park of Industrial Bank: "Politicians Are Playing Games"

Vice President Park of Industrial Bank: "Politicians Are Playing Games"

Posted January. 19, 2003 22:49,   


Vice president of Industrial Bank Park Sang-bae said on Saturday, "Politicians would probably know where the $400 million loan was gone, but they are playing a game now." His remarks were about the $400 million loan Hyundai Marine Merchant obtained from the bank, and allegedly given to North Korea as a secret aid. His contention draws attention since he was the person who made the final decision allowing the loan to Hyundai.

Vice president Park was a director of Industrial Bank who made the discretionary decision of loaning the money to Hyundai in June of 2000.

In a seminar hosted by the bank at a condominium in Wonjoo City, Kwongwon Province, he told reporters, "It would not take even a month to find out the whereabouts of the loan. All has to be done is just to track down the wiring records. I think I can figure out where and for what the loan was spent. As a person working for the bank, I`m not sure whether I should talk about the whereabouts."

He asked back, "Let`s say the money was given to North Korea. But, what`s the point in tracking down and confirming the allegation? It will not be good for our national interest, I believe."

As to the investigation conducted by the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea, he commented, "The board audited Industrial Bank late last year. But it didn`t look into the whereabouts of the loan."

In 1998, Park was appointed as director of the bank after Kim Dae Jung administration took office. In 2001, when a huge size of loans were made to Hyundai, he got promoted to director. Park and then Presidential Economic Advisor Lee Kee-ho went to the same high school and college.

In a stern voice, he denied the bank`s involvement in the loan scandal, and was quoted as saying, "Our bank just lent money to Hyundai Marine Merchant in need and received all the money back we had lent. Nothing more, nothing less."

He stressed, "At that time, a financial crisis of Hyundai Marine Merchant could spill into other Hyundai companies like Hyundai Auto and Heavy Equipment. If things had gone wrong, the Korea National Oil Corporation would have suffered a lot, due to its guarantees for Hyundai."

In the meanwhile, the bank`s head Chung Gun-yong said, "As far as I know, the Board of Audit and Inspection will announce its inspection results within this month."