Ex-state auditor brought to trial for influence-peddling
Published : Jun 17, 2011 - 20:22
Updated : Jun 17, 2011 - 20:44

Prosecutors put a former aide to President Lee Myung-bak and state auditor on trial on Friday, accusing him of receiving kickbacks in return for using his influence to help a corruption-ridden savings bank survive inspections by financial regulators.

Eun Jin-soo, 50, is suspected of having received 70 million won (US$64,844) from Busan Savings Bank through a broker last year in exchange for lobbying financial regulators to help it get relaxed inspections and time to normalize its management.

He resigned as a vice-ministerial-level auditor of the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) last month after the influence-peddling allegations surfaced. The broker, Yun Yeo-seong, chairman of a paper company established by the bank, is currently in jail for his involvement.

Eun is also charged with having the bank hire his elder brother as an auditor of a hotel casino in the southern resort island of Jeju so he could be paid 100 million won in a salary.

The former prosecutor, who worked for Lee's presidential election camp in 2007, met Kim Jong-chang, then the head of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), twice to ask for favorable treatment for the bank, prosecutors said.

Kim has denied exercising any undue influence to help the bank, prosecutors at the Supreme Prosecutors' Office said, adding they will call him in again for further interrogation.

The probe of the Busan-based bank began in March, a month after it was suspended with four affiliated banks and two other savings banks for capital shortages.

Investigators initially focused on financial illegalities by the banks, but later shifted to ranking former and incumbent government officials and politicians for alleged bribery.

Employees of the Busan Savings Bank also came under fire for tipping off their relatives and VIP customers about the bank's impending suspension of operations to help them withdraw deposits in advance.
(Yonhap News)