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“No More Illegal Political Funds to be Provided”

Posted March. 16, 2005 22:28,   


The Samsung Group officially announced that it will not provide illegal political funds and will stay completely away from politics.

The announcement is interpreted as the group’s response to the “agreement for a transparent society,” and is expected to lead other companies into following suit. The agreement was reached in a business leaders’ meeting on March 9 presided over by President Roh Moo-hyun.

On March 16, Samsung Group announced its “Samsung Business Principles” in the meeting room on the 28th floor of the group’s main building in Taepyeongno, Jung-gu, Seoul. Lee Hak-su, the group’s vice chairman and director of restructuring division, presided over the meeting, in which 40 CEOs of the affiliates participated.

What is “Samsung’s Business Principle?” –

This establishes five fundamental principles of behavior for executives such as corporate responsibility for society. The fundamental principles are followed by 15 detailed principles and 42 behavioral rules.

What catches the attention is the clause, “One should not be linked with politics and maintain a neutral standing,” which means that the group will never offer illegal political funds and will not utilize capital, human resources, facilities of the group for political purposes.

Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of the Samsung Group, asked the CEOs of the affiliates to establish and implement ethic guidelines that meet the global standards for the group at large, saying, “To make Samsung a genuine global company, we should exert our utmost effort.”

In line with that, Samsung announced that it will ensure transparency of its accounting documents and financial information and will make them public. Forming factions of private groups within companies will be met with strict measures.

Response of the Business Sector–

The announcement of the Samsung Group is expected to have a huge impact on other large businesses. Companies such as LG, Hyundai Motors, and SK Group are seriously considering the adoption of the same kinds of guidelines.

An official of the Federation of Korean Industries said, “Under the current circumstance, offering political funds is almost inevitable. I expect to see the so-called black transaction between the business and politics disappear, as Samsung has declared a break with politics.”

Young-Hae Choi yhchoi65@donga.com