South Korean bank executive apparently kills himself

Jeong Gu-Haeng, president of Jeil 2 Savings Bank in South Korea, jumped to his death in an apparent suicide on Friday, according to The New York Times.

The Times reports that Jeong's death comes as prosecutors "expanded their investigation into an alleged corruption scandal by raiding his and six other banks and seeking to arrest a former senior aide to President Lee Myung-bak."

An anonymous police spokesman said that Jeong jumped from his office on the sixth floor of Jeil 2 Savings Bank's headquarters in Seoul.

“He apparently jumped from his office,” the spokesman said. “It looks like a suicide.”

The BBC reports that customers lined up outside the bank saw Jeong fall. Depositors have been rushing to withdraw their money from Jeil 2 Savings Bank and the six other banks being investigated since the government suspended the banks' operations on Sunday. Jeong's body was found on the pavement near his bank's door.

In recent raids, authorities have searched the seven savings banks for evidence of excessive loan extensions and bribery, the Times reports. While savings banks represent only a small slice of the country's financial industry, the latest bank suspensions brings the total for the year to 16, and according to the Times the bad press is a threat to President Lee Myung-bak's image. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that a note found in the Jeil 2 Savings Bank's building indicated that Jeong "was worried about customers who weren't covered by government insurance, which protects accounts with deposits up to 50 million won ($42,900)."