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2 bank embezzlement cases in less than month boosts chance of gov't controlling FSS

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The logo of Shinhan Bank is seen at its headquarters in central Seoul. Korea Times file
The logo of Shinhan Bank is seen at its headquarters in central Seoul. Korea Times file

Shinhan Bank employee allegedly embezzled 200 million won

By Yi Whan-woo

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) appears to be facing a growing possibility of coming under government control again, over an embezzlement allegation at a Shinhan Bank branch office in Busan.

The case hints at another instance of the FSS's lax oversight of the financial market, including the embezzlement of 61.4 billion won ($47.8 million) at Woori Bank headquarters in late April.

According to the police and Shinhan Bank, Monday, an employee at the lender's Busan office stole 200 million won from a safe where the cash for loans was kept.

"We've reported the case to the police after it was found out by our internal controlling system, May 12," the bank said. "We will make sure to prevent such a case from happening again."

The case does not have to be reported to the FSS, as stipulated by the regulation that embezzlement below 300 million won need not be reported.

However, some financial sources speculate that the FSS also should be held responsible for embezzlement in commercial banks where money should be managed securely.

Such lax oversight was cited as a reason for Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Choo Kyung-ho to claim that FSS should be listed as a public entity so that the government can keep closer tabs on its work of implementing regulative policies.

Directed by the Financial Services Commission (FSC), the FSS was established in 1999 and was listed as a public entity in 2007, before being delisted in 2009.

The delisting was intended to ensure the FSS' autonomy in the financial market as well as to prevent bureaucrats from practicing influence peddling in private financial firms via the FSC, which operates under the Prime Minister's Office.

Yi Whan-woo

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