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Prosecutors raid KEB Hana Bank over Optimus fund fiasco

Hana Bank headquarters in central Seoul (Yonhap)
Hana Bank headquarters in central Seoul (Yonhap)


Prosecutors on Thursday raided KEB Hana Bank‘s headquarters in Seoul in an apparent move to add fresh fuel to the investigation of Optimus Asset Management’s private equity fund misselling. KEB Hana Bank was one of trustee banks of the disputed funds.

According to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, investigators searched the lender’s consignment sales unit to seize computer drives and documents related to the case.

The main purpose of the search is to figure out whether KEB Hana Bank deliberately purchased the privately placed bonds under Optimus’ request or instruction, officials said.

The asset manager is facing allegations that it pushed the bank to purchase the problematic products, while forging the related documents by registering the funds at the Korea Securities Depository.

The latest search and seizure was the first prosecutorial action since Optimus CEO Kim Jae-hyun faced charges in late July.

During his hearing held Thursday afternoon, Kim admitted that he had forged the funds’ documents, expressing regret and apology over his wrongdoing.

Following the confiscation, prosecutors are expected to summon key officials in charge from KEB Hana Bank to verify whether the consignment sale process was carried out legitimately.

Optimus Asset Management has suspended redemption of funds worth some 38 billion won ($32.3 million) with the combined investor losses nearing 200 billion won as of July, industry data showed. 

By Choi Jae-hee (cjh@heraldcorp.com)
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