Vol. 5 Num 926 Sat. January 06, 2007  

ROK watchdog chief arrested

South Korean prosecutors have arrested a financial watchdog chief on suspicion of accepting bribes from a former department store owner, official South Korean media reported yesterday.

Prosecutors said they arrested Kim Jung-hoe, vice governor of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), in connection with allegedly accepting tens of millions of won in kickbacks from the store owner, Yonhap news agency reported.

Kim reportedly strongly denies the charge, Yonhap said.

It quoted a Seoul prosecution official as saying Kim is suspected of accepting the bribes in return for agreeing to try to influence the owner's failed bid to take over a mutual savings bank in 2001.

At the time, Kim Jung-hoe was an FSS director in charge of overseeing non-bank financial institutions, and is suspected of introducing the store owner to officials at the mutual savings bank.

Kim Heung-ju, the former owner of the Grace Department Store in Seoul, has been under investigation since November last year on charges of fraud, embezzling funds from company coffers and issuing bad cheques, Yonhap said.