Korean Government May Owe Lone Star Funds Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

Another one of these long term anti-US issues has come back up again:

Leaders of Korea Exchange Bank’s union attempt to enter the building of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) in Seoul on Nov. 18, 2011, as the FSC holds a meeting to discuss whether to order Lone Star Funds to sell most of its stake in Korea Exchange Bank. The workers are calling for the authorities to impose a punitive measure against Lone Star’s stake sale, such as ordering the fund to sell its share on the market, in a bid to prevent the buyout fund from pocketing more than twice the money it spent on purchasing KEB stocks.

Lawyers for a Democratic Society (LDS) sent a letter to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Tuesday, demanding a speedy settlement of the dispute between the Korean government and the U.S. buyout fund Lone Star Funds over the sale of the Korea Exchange Bank (KEB).

“The process of the legal battle worth 5 trillion won ($4.68 billion) has been shrouded in secrecy since 2012, so we requested rapid processing under the principle of transparency,” Song Ki-ho, the chairman of the international trade committee at the LDS, told the Korea Times.

The nongovernmental organization has a special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

In 2012, Lone Star filed a request with the ICSID, claiming the Korean government should compensate it for the “belated” approval of its sale of its KEB stake to Hana Financial and return the taxes it paid during the delay.

The global private equity firm acquired a 51.02 percent stake in KEB from a German bank in 2003, but exited Korea in 2012 after selling the stake and gaining about 4.9 trillion won in profit.  (….)

Observers said the ruling will come around March this year and note the Korean government may have to pay Lone Star hundreds of billions of won in compensation. Some point out the government may claim a part of the money from Jun Kwang-woo, a former chairman of the Financial Services Commission.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but basically the crime Lone Star made was that it made too much money in Korea and then tried to take its profits outside the country.  Their sale of the Korea Exchange Bank led to large protests which caused the government to try and stop the sale any way it can.



I am a US military veteran that has served all over the world to include in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Korea. I have been blogging about Korea, Northeast Asia, and the US military for over 10 years.

One Comment

  1. No opinion on Lone Star; but unions always appear to be comprised of thugs.

    That they demand to be admitted to business dealings to which they have no part makes them unwholesome economic parasites; and that governments allow them to steal from workers and owners both has always bothered me.

    C’est la vie.

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