FSS chief steps down in recruitment scandal

By Son Ji-hyoung
  • Published : Mar 12, 2018 - 16:08
  • Updated : Mar 12, 2018 - 18:03

The chief of the Financial Supervisory Service, Choe Heung-sik tendered his resignation Monday, amid allegations of him arranging recruitment favors during his stint at Hana Financial Group, according to the FSS.

The news came hours after a decision by the FSS to launch a probe into a scandal involving hiring at Hana Financial Group. Gov. Choe, who took office in September 2017, had served as Hana Financial Group chief executive from 2012 to 2014.
Choe Heung=sik (Yonhap)
While denying involvement in any wrongdoing, Choe said in a statement, “However, my past actions may not be up to par with the standards of the public. I deemed that it was my action of responsibility to withdraw from my post if it was only to ensure fairness of the FSS’s investigation, as its chief.” 

Choe’s term was effectively terminated Monday, with Yoo Kwang-yeol, first senior deputy governor, taking over the post as acting governor.

Choe is alleged to have had an entry-level applicant with personal ties to the governor accepted to the group’s signature banking arm KEB Hana Bank in 2013, although the applicant was not able to pass the recruitment process, according to a report by the Chosun Weekly magazine, Friday.

Earlier in the day, a Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson had told reporters that controversy surrounding Choe was “under a review” by the presidential office. Becoming a head of the FSS requires approval by President Moon Jae-in.

Choe on Saturday admitted in a statement he had “passed on” the name of the applicant -- a son of Choe’s friend -- to the human resources team, but denied allegations he had interfered in the recruitment process or manipulated the scores.

On Monday, Choe wrote to FSS employees and executives in an internal email that he “will bear the responsibility” if his recommendation turns out to be illegitimate. In an internal meeting presided over by Choe, the FSS decided to launch a special team “without the governor’s intervention” targeting Hana Financial Group to find out whether Choe would be free from allegations.

The watchdog said Monday it would continue the operation of the special team regardless of Choe’s resignation.

The FSS had looked into banks’ recruitment irregularities and in late January handed over to prosecutors 22 cases of recruitment irregularities at five commercial banks, including KEB Hana Bank.

By Son Ji-hyoung