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Feud-ridden FSS chief offers to resign

Election watchdog finds fault with Kim's past behavior in parliament

The Financial Supervisory Service Gov. Kim Ki-sik on Monday offered to resign, shortly after the election watchdog concluded that his past behavior as a lawmaker violated laws.

"I have offered my resignation (to the presidential office)," the FSS quoted Kim as saying.

The National Election Commission, after an hours-long meeting, said that Kim's donation of 50 million won ($46,577) to a group of former and incumbent lawmakers of his home Democratic Party breached the Public Official Election Act.

The NEC also found fault with his overseas business trips which were sponsored by financial institutions, saying that they could be in violation of the Political Funds Act, depending on the details of each occasion.

"We respect the NEC's judgment," the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
said in a statement, adding that it will accept Kim's resignation.

The election watchdog summoned a general meeting in the afternoon, in response to an inquiry filed earlier by the presidential house.

“We have requested for the NEC’s official judgment on several legal disputes pivoting on Gov. Kim,” Blue House spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said at a briefing Thursday.

The inquiry dealt with four main questions, including whether it was legal for Kim to go on overseas business trips at the expense of financial institutions that he was supposed to supervise.

President Moon Jae-in said Friday that he would remove the disputed financial market watchdog chief from his recently appointed post, should his trips be found to be illegal or unethical for a lawmaker.

The Financial Supervisory Service Gov. Kim Ki-sik leaves after a meeting with savings banks' CEOs on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
The Financial Supervisory Service Gov. Kim Ki-sik leaves after a meeting with savings banks' CEOs on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Kim, who took office as the head of the FSS on April 2, has been under fire for trips paid for by the Korea Exchange, the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy and Woori Bank in 2014 and 2015.

He was at the time a lawmaker of the then-opposition Democratic Party and member of the parliamentary National Policy Committee, in charge of monitoring the operations of financial institutes including the three trip sponsors.

Connecting the FSS chief’s past alleged misdeeds to the watchdog’s failure to prevent a recent system error at Samsung Securities, the opposition parties called either for Kim’s voluntary resignation or the withdrawal of his resignation.

By Bae Hyun-jung (