The Korea Herald


Lone Star appeals against ICSID ruling over KEB sale: ministry

By Son Ji-hyoung

Published : July 31, 2023 - 20:01

    • Link copied

Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon (Yonhap) Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon (Yonhap)

US private equity firm Lone Star has appealed against an arbitration decision made by an international tribunal that sentenced the South Korean government to pay Lone Star $216.02 million in damages over the sale of a commercial bank decades ago, the Justice Ministry said on Monday.

The government was notified of the appeal from the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes on Saturday, Korea Standard Time.

Seoul said it would "thoroughly review" Lone Star's claims and pledged to counterappeal before the deadline of Sept. 6 at 12:59 p.m. Korea Standard Time, so that "no taxpayers' money would be further wasted for nothing," the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

The Ministry of Justice has been working with Washington-based law firm Arnold & Porter and Seoul-based law firm Bae, Kim & Lee.

This comes two months after the arbitrator on May 8 issued the decision on the rectification of the award to $216.02 million, down by $481,318 from the $216.5 million as concluded earlier in August 2022, over Lone Star's sale of now-defunct Korea Exchange Bank to Hana Bank. The damage ordered to pay by South Korea to Lone Star was only 4.6 percent of what the Texas-based firm claimed for last year.

Lone Star appears to have appealed the decision as the arbitrator set the final amount for damages significantly lower than what the company asked for, according to local reports.

In 2003, Lone Star bought a majority stake in Korea Exchange Bank for 1.38 trillion won ($1.08 billion).

Lone Star agreed to sell the Korea Exchange Bank stake to Hana for 4.69 trillion won in 2010, but the final transaction earned Lone Star 3.92 trillion won in 2012.

Lone Star filed in 2012 to demand $4.68 billion in compensation from the South Korean government, holding it accountable for the delayed review of the transaction process that eventually reduced its proceeds from the Korea Exchange Bank sale.