FSS head denies allegations involving hiring irregularity.
The nation's financial watchdog head claimed he had never been involved in hiring irregularities regarding KEB Hana Bank's recruitment when he served as the bank's president.
"One of my friends from college called me saying his son applied to KEB Hana Bank when I was a president there," Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Governor Choi Heung-sik said in a press release, Sunday.
"I just 'delivered' the kid's name to the bank's human resource director. That was it. I never participated in the bank's recruitment process."
Local media outlets have protested Choi's statement, claiming the delivery of the name could be considered influential. The FSS said, however, that 55 applicants were recommended in the recruiting process, but it's difficult to consider all of them as part of hiring irregularities.
"Choi's statement is absurd. He was the banking group's president. Mentioning a certain candidate's name could be decisive in hiring process," said a jobseeker surnamed Lee.
"I understand the FSS is a watchdog overseeing financial irregularities. It's just bitter its head was a part of the Korean society's deep-rooted unfair practices. Your life here could be different if you have a father with power."
Choi served as president of KEB Hana Financial Group between 2012 and 2014, and his possible involvement in the bank's hiring irregularities was ironically uncovered by his own institution, the FSS.
The financial watchdog filed a criminal investigation request with the prosecution against KEB Hana Bank, along with four other banks_ KB Kookmin, JB Gwangju, BNK Busan and DGB Daegu _ for allegedly giving favors to certain candidates in recruiting, Feb. 1.
The prosecution raided the headquarters of KEB Hana Bank in Seoul over the recruitment irregularities. They dispatched 16 investigators to Hana's headquarters and confiscated relevant documents and computer files there.
All five banks were allegedly found to award jobs to certain people who had connections with high-ranking officials in the banks or children of loyal customers.
The prosecution also suspects Hana Bank's human resources department kept a list of VIP candidates and knowingly gave their relatives favors during the recruitment process.
One of the VIP candidates was the child of a high-profile former Hana employee and the originally disqualified candidate got the job after obtaining an extra .4 points during a face-to-face interview session.
The prosecution also claimed the bank gave extra points to seven candidates graduating from Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University and the University of Wisconsin and dropped scores for those graduating from less prestigious schools.