South Korea plans to seek reversal of $217m Lone Star decision

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SEOUL: South Korea said on Wednesday it would consider seeking reversal of an international court order to pay damages of $216.5 million plus interest to Lone Star Funds for the sale of the Korea Exchange Bank by the American private equity firm.

Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon told a news conference that the decision by the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) was unacceptable because the government had been fair and just in handling of the sales process.

He said the damages awarded by the World Bank Group organization, which his department was notified of early Wednesday, amounted to just 4.6% of the $4.68 billion Lone Star had sought.

“The government has the consistent position that it has handled the case fairly and equitably, without discrimination and in accordance with international law and treaties,” he said.

Lone Star filed the lawsuit in November 2012. According to local media, it had sought compensation for what it said was a long delay in the sale review process and unfair taxation.

A lawyer from a Seoul-based representation firm for Lone Star declined to comment.

Korea Exchange Bank has since been merged into Hana Bank.

(Reporting by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Christopher Cushing)

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