Members of Samsung’s independent compliance committee discuss during its first meeting on February 5. They recommended Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to apologize for the family-controlled conglomerate’s misdeeds over succession and trade union issues. Photo courtesy of UPI News Korea

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the de facto chief of Samsung Group, is urged to apologize for the family-controlled conglomerate’s misdeeds over succession and trade union issues.

Samsung’s independent compliance committee came up with a series of recommendations Wednesday aimed at improving the group’s governance structure.

Lee is expected to accept the requests as the establishment of the seven-member committee was proposed by the court, which will come up with a verdict about his bribery charges.

Unfavorable incidents of Samsung have been mostly related to succession as the owning family has violated laws during the procedures. Hence, Vice Chairman Lee is recommended to apologize for the past wrongdoings, while promising not to repeat them,” the committee said.

The committee also required the group to recognize that labor unions can help create corporate values in the long term. Samsung has been caught suppressing unions several times.

Lee is highly likely to make an apologize as he runs the risks of returning to prison in case he does not follow the instructions of the court,” Prof. Lee Phil-sang at Seoul National University said. “And he should do so for Samsung. I hope that the group would be able to get better its governance this time around.”

Vice Chairman Lee was jailed in 2017 on charges of offering bribes to former President Park and her aide Choi Soon-sil in return for their help in reinforcing his grip over Samsung instead of his bed-ridden father, Chairman Lee Kun-hee.

Later in the year, a district court sentenced Lee to five years in prison. But he was released early 2018 as an appeals court halved his sentence and suspended it.

Then, The Supreme Court overturned the appellate court’s verdict in 2019. As a result, the High Seoul High Court has to make a new decision on the billionaire businessman.

The first criminal division of the high court, led by Judge Jeong Joon-young, is currently in charge of the case. He has been dubbed as compassionate to the Samsung heir.

The first division suggested last October that Samsung beef up its internal compliance system to prevent the recurrence of irregularities. The conglomerate responded by creating a committee, headed by a former Supreme Court Justice, to oversee its practices early this year.

In this climate, the prosecution asked the court to change judges last month, claiming “the first division had shown its willingness to hand down a suspended jail term to Lee.”

Under the Korean judiciary system, the Seoul High Court can still mete out a suspended jail term even tough the top court overturned its previous suspended sentence.


This article is provided by UPI News Korea. _ ED.