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Prosecutors raid Hana Bank over allegations of irregular hiring

Prosecutors raided the main office of KEB Hana Bank on Thursday as part of a probe into allegations that the bank gave undue favors to job applicants with ties to its top executives.

Investigators from the Seoul Western District Prosecutors' Office were sent to KEB Hana Bank headquarters in central Seoul to search the premises and confiscate evidence, the office said.

They searched the offices of Hana Bank CEO Ham Young-joo as well as the bank's human resources division. Neither the office of Chairman Kim Jung-tai of the bank's holding firm, Hana Financial Group, nor its subsidiary Hana Card were included in the search warrant, the prosecution added. 

The headquarters of KEB Hana Bank in Seoul (Yonhap)
The headquarters of KEB Hana Bank in Seoul (Yonhap)

The major lender is suspected of modifying scores for certain applicants who are either related to or acquaintances of its own executives, so that they could pass the recruitment tests or interviews to get jobs at the bank.

Prosecutors suspect that the bank kept a so-called "VIP list" of applicants who had ties with executives and took them into account for special treatment over the course of the recruitment process.

They are also alleged to have classified top university graduates separately from the rest of the applicants and to have given them extra points in the assessment.

The prosecution launched the probe into five major banks over suspected hiring irregularities after the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), the country's financial watchdog, requested a formal investigation based on its own inquiry in December and January that found 22 such suspected cases. 

Last week, the prosecution indicted a former head of South Korea's No. 3 lender Woori Bank and other company officials over alleged irregularities in hiring new employees between 2015 and 2017. (Yonhap)