SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Korea Bizwire) – The former head of Lone Star Korea Steven Lee has been arrested in Italy after twelve years on the run.
The 48-year old American citizen was apprehended by police earlier this month, according to the Ministry of Justice.
His wanted status stems from questions over his role at the Korean branch of U.S. private equity firm Lone Star in 2003. The bank had purchased the Korea Exchange Bank at an unseemly low price, which raised the ire of the South Korean public.
Taking the purchase and reselling it for a healthy profit, then pulling out of the country altogether added fuel to an explosive fire of popular outrage.
As the central figure and target of the scandal, the Prosecution Service began investigations into Lee in 2006.
Their efforts were in vain, however, as Lee left the country and returned to the U.S. in 2005.
Rumors that Lee had lobbied politicians also served to muddy the waters of the investigation, which was dead in the water after the loss of its prime suspect.
The prosecution team came to the conclusion that the administrators of the Korea Exchange Bank had overstated the ills of the corporation and had sold the business to Lone Star Korea for a sum anywhere from 340 million to 820 million won less than its actual value.
Prosecutors brought charges against the former director of the Financial Services Commission, Byun Yang Ho. Byun was later cleared of all wrongdoing in court.
The result of the case saw prosecutors ridiculed by some quarters of society for their hapless and ineffective investigation against the American firm.
Lee will most certainly be extradited to South Korea, where he will be placed under investigation.
The Ministry of Justice stated it is working closely with Italian authorities to expedite Lee’s extradition in adherence to European law.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)