updated 04:00 pm EDT, Thu April 17, 2008
Samsung chairman indicted
The chairman of Samsung, Lee Kun-hee, has been cleared of bribery charges from the South Korean government, but indicted on accusations of tax evasion and breach of trust. The news is the outcome of four months of investigation into executive corruption at the company, in which several members of upper management have been accused of concealing $4.55 billion in Lee's assets. The executives are also alleged to have kept a $200 million slush fund, whose sole purpose was to bribe the likes of politicians and prosecutors.
Lee could face up to five years in prison if convicted, but may escape serious punishment due to local leniency on white-collar criminals. Similarly, nine other Samsung bosses have been indicted, but not taken into custody.
Despite the seriousness of the problem investors are said to be happy with the investigation's results, as it may force Samsung to expose an otherwise impenetrable management structure, and bring it up to par with other countries around the world.