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KB bank chief holds group chairman responsible for feud

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Published : 2014-09-01 20:38
Updated : 2014-09-01 20:38

KB Kookmin Bank president Lee Kun-ho said Monday that KB Financial Group chairman Lim Young-rok had illegitimately interfered in the bank’s internal affairs, including the much-disputed replacement of its main computing system.

“(Lim’s interference) was included in the indictment, but we decided it would be more rational to rule his name out,” Lee told reporters in an urgent press conference held at the bank’s headquarters in Seoul on Monday.

Last week, KB Kookmin Bank indicted the chief information officer and the IT director of KB Financial Group, along with the bank’s IT director, for business obstruction.
KB Kookmin Bank president Lee Kun-ho. (Yonhap)

By saying that Lim was to be put on this list, Lee held the group chairman directly responsible for the months-long internal feud over the computing system, which even led the financial authorities to consider a top-level warning for both officials.

For his part, the bank chief said he was prepared to step down from his post, should the board of directors decide so.

“I apologize for causing public concern over the computing system replacement,” Lee said. “I will leave all matters, including my position, to the decision of the board.”

KB Financial Group expressed its foul mood over Lee’s unexpected move.

“We cannot guess why Lee held a press briefing without even consulting the holding group, especially while talks of Lim and Lee’s conflict are still ongoing,” said an official.

Lee, however, claimed that the purpose of the occasion was to offer his explanation over the recent series of events and thus needed no prior consultation with the holding group.

Earlier this year, the financial group was caught up in a feud when the bank’s president vetoed the computing system replacement project, citing technical errors and costs.

The board of directors, allegedly backed by group chairman Lim, resisted and the feud escalated until the Financial Supervisory Service decided to hand down a heavy punishment on both top officials for mismanagement. The FSS sanction, however, was alleviated to the lowest level after months of disputes.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)

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