By Chung Ah-young
Major creditor banks of Moneual may be unable to collect loans extended to the robot vacuum cleaner manufacturer which has filed for court receivership.
Moneual failed to repay export bonds worth 500 billion won to NongHyup Bank and the Korea Industrial Bank (KDB) which matured on Oct. 20.
The company's filing for court receivership has sent shockwaves through the industry as it had been lauded as a leading venture company in home appliances, reporting 1.27 trillion won in sales and 110 billion won in operating profit last year.
The company is facing suspicions of overstating its export performance in order to receive large loans from financial institutions.
The Korea Customs Service (KCS) is looking into whether the company altered its accounting books to overstate its business performance and sell export bonds worth 1 trillion won.
"We've detected some evidence that Moneual overstated export performance documents as their bond maturities came closer," a KCS official said.
The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) is focusing on whether its KOSDAQ-listed subsidiary Zalman Tech violated corporate accounting rules. The FSS said that it is strengthening monitoring of stock movements as the subsidiary's stock trade volumes surged from Oct. 17 just before Moneual filed for court receivership.
The FSS said it will also inspect local banks which extended loans to Moneual and Zalman Tech based on their fraudulent documents.
The loans extended to the company amount to 670 billion won. The Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) extended 150 billion won, the largest amount, followed by the KDB with 116 billion won, the Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) with 110 billion won, Kookmin Bank with 70 billion won, NongHyup Bank with 70 billion won and the Korea Export-Import Bank with 40 billion won.
Among the loans, the lenders granted 300 billion won to the company based on post-shipment export credit guarantees issued by the Korea Trade Insurance Corp. (K-Sure). K-Sure issued the guarantees backed by the export records, shipping documents and bank statements.
The creditor banks and K-Sure are passing the buck to each other over the loans.
K-Sure said that it issued the guarantees based on the banks' settlement reports between exporters and importers, arguing that the banks should confirm actual export transactions on the spot.
However, the banks said that the guarantees are equivalent to the loans and thus K-
Sure is responsible for failing to confirm the export performance.
Early this year, several banks were involved in the large-scale loan fraud scandal related to KT ENS, an affiliate of KT. A worker at KT ENS and the leaders of its subcontractors fabricated loan-application documents and borrowed 1.8 trillion won from 17 financial companies after providing the fake collateral.