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Kookmin Pres. Denies Pressure to Drop Candidacy

Posted January. 12, 2010 08:37,   


Kookmin Bank President Kang Jung-won (picture) yesterday denied financial regulators pressured him to drop his candidacy as chairman of KB Financial Group.

He said financial authorities asked for a delay in selecting the chairman last month. Kang also said he will not run for Kookmin president again but do his best through October, when his term ends.

“I know that the board chairman was asked to postpone selection of his successor,” he told reporters at Kookmin headquarters in Seoul’s Yeouido district. “I didn’t consider it external pressure so I continued the process of selecting a new chairman.”

“I think that financial authorities can say, ‘Since the board has begun the process of self-restructuring, it is OK to report this.’”

Kookmin said in a statement, however, that academics and media reports are the ones saying financial authorities asked for a delay in the chairman`s appointment, not financial authorities.

“There was no request from financial authorities to the board or chairman,” it said.

On the dismissal of Kim Jung-hoe as group chairman, Kang said, “It was a managerial decision made after prior talks with Kim since he was responsible for enhancing organizational efficiency. It was not revenge.”

The Financial Supervisory Service from Thursday will begin a probe into Kang’s decision in 2008 to buy Bank Credit Center of Kazakhstan, a move that caused Kookmin a paper loss of an estimated 250 billion won (221 million dollars) due to a plunge in the Kazak bank’s stock value.

He also made the decision to invest in a Kazak movie production that collapsed. On the investigation, Kang said, “This will be clarified after the investigation results come out.”

“I believe the investment in Kazakhstan’s Bank Center Credit was strategically right. Investment in the movie was proven sound and having two drivers was necessary to prevent a car accident by reducing the heavy workload, which was necessary for scheduling.”