Choe Heung-sik, head of South Korea’s financial watchdog Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), offered to resign on Monday after facing accusations that he was involved in irregular hiring at a commercial bank he served as president in 2013.
According to financial authorities on Monday, Choe tendered his resignation to the Financial Services Commission, the country’s top financial regulator that directs FSS. The resignation comes six months after Choe took office as FSS governor in September last year, becoming the shortest serving chief in the watchdog’s history.
Choe is alleged to have involved in illicit hiring at Hana Bank in 2013 by recommending a son of his college alumnus when he was president of Hana Financial Group. Choe denied the accusation, saying that he was not involved in the recruitment process in any form but “simply passed on (the name of the applicant in) a hiring-related message.”
In an internal e-mail message to employees earlier Monday, however, Choe said that he will “bear responsibility if there are issues that need to be taken responsibility.”
Choe’s resignation comes at a time when the Moon Jae-in government has been imposing heavy punishment on illicit hiring in a bid to eradicate various forms of corruption in the recruitment process.
The FSS plans to conduct an inspection on Choe and Hana Bank. On Monday, the financial watchdog sent an official request letter to Hana Bank for recruitment-related documents in 2013.
A senior official from the financial authority said that the FSS and Hana Bank are both involved in the accusations so the “substantial truth (to the scandal) will only be revealed via a prosecutorial investigation.”
By Kim Dong-eun and Lee Eun-joo
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