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Court temporarily suspends punishment imposed on Hana chairman-nominee

Hana Financial Group Vice Chairman and chairman-nominee Ham Young-joo attends a hearing at the Seoul Western District Court on March 11. (Yonhap)
Hana Financial Group Vice Chairman and chairman-nominee Ham Young-joo attends a hearing at the Seoul Western District Court on March 11. (Yonhap)
The Seoul High Court on Thursday temporarily suspended the punishment imposed by financial authorities on Hana Financial Group Chairman-nominee Ham Young-joo for improper sales of derivatives-linked products.

The decision follows Ham’s move last week to file an appeal against a lower court’s ruling that found him guilty of the charges.

The Seoul High Court accepted an injunction to delay the implementation of the Financial Services Commission’s punishment, imposed in 2020, which bans Ham from being hired to a new role in the financial sector for at least three years.

The injunction will remain in effect until 30 days after the court makes its decision. The court said the injunction was accepted in recognition of “an urgent need and concern that the punishment may cause irreversible damage.”

The injunction is likely to clear the air for confirmation of Ham’s chairman nomination at Hana’s shareholders meeting Friday, according to some legal experts.

They say that the court’s acceptance of the injunction can be seen as a consideration of a lower court’s decision to clear Woori Financial Group Chairman Sohn Tae-seung on similar derivatives misselling charges.

Hana, for its part, reiterated its argument that it has completed its compensation demanded by the FSC to its victims.

A lower court last week nodded to the financial authorities’ claims that 183.7 billion won ($147.9 million) worth of derivatives offered by Hana Bank to its customers from May 2016 to 2019 were “missold.” Ham was the chief of Hana Bank from September 2015 to March 2019.

Ham was nominated by Hana’s chairman recommendation committee as the next chief of one of the nation’s top banking groups. He would replace Kim Jung-tai, who was at the helm of the firm for the last decade.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)
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