March 12, 2018 / 11:23 AM / 8 months ago

Head of South Korea's financial watchdog offers to resign

SEOUL (Reuters) - The chief of South Korea’s financial watchdog, who faces allegations of involvement in hiring irregularities when he was at a major commercial bank, offered to resign on Monday, the regulatory agency said.

Korean media reports have alleged that Choe Heung-sik, head of the Financial Supervisory Services (FSS) since September, in 2013 asked Hana Financial Group to illegally hire the son of a colleague.

In a statement on Monday, Choe denied any wrongdoing, saying that he was never involved in the bank’s personnel decisions and did not conduct any “illegal acts”.

“However, my actions at the time might not fit the current public sentiment”, he said in the statement released by the FSS.

Choe’s statement said it was his duty to step down “in order to ensure the impartiality of the FSS, which is investigating employment irregularities in the financial sector”.

President Moon Jae-in has yet to accept or decline his offer of his resignation, an official at the Blue House said.

From 2012 until 2014, Choe was president of the Hana Financial Group, which owns KEB Hana Bank, South Korea’s biggest lender.

(This version of the story was refiled to fix watchdog’s initials to FSS, not FSC, in paragraphs 4 and 5)

Reporting by Dahee Kim, Choonsik Yoo, Joyce Lee and Christine Kim; Writing by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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