The former Korea branch chief of U.S. equity firm Lone Star has been released in Italy, Seoul‘s justice ministry said Friday, dimming the prospects of his return to Korea for an inquiry into alleged irregularities surrounding the 2003 sale of a local bank.
The ministry said that a Milano-based court has recently set free Steven Lee, the Korean-American who headed the Seoul office between 1998 and 2005, apparently because the statute of limitations of the charges against him had expired.
Lee was captured by the International Criminal Police Organization in Italy last month, a dozen years after he left Korea amid a probe into the Lone Star case.
The U.S. firm bought Korea Exchange Bank at a below-market price in 2003, but was later accused of understating the bank’s value and financial soundness to drive down the purchase price. (Yonhap)