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No One Punished in Samsung Bond Probe

Posted December. 17, 2005 10:36,   


The Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Central Investigation Division completed its investigation into possible Samsung bond transfers to politicians on December 16.

The original investigation focused on illegal campaign funding in the 2002 presidential election started with the August 2003 investigation of SK Corporation’s slush funds and ended in May 2004, but key persons related to Samsung bonds transfers could not be investigated at that time, so the investigation was postponed, and ended yesterday.

The prosecution found out that before the 2002 presidential election the Samsung Group bought about 83.7 billion won worth of bonds and transferred about 36.11 billion won out of that to politicians.

Was the Investigation Generous to Lawmaker Lee Kwang-jae?—

A new revelation was that Uri Party lawmaker Lee Kwang-jae received 600 million won in bonds, but everybody involved, including Lee and Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Hak-soo, could not be punished for it because the statute of limitations had run out.

The prosecution investigated a Mr. Choi who, at the request of Lee, cashed the 600 million won in bonds three times before this past May. At that time, the statute of limitations on Lee’s violation of the political funding law had not yet expired. Therefore, it is being pointed out that if Choi was thoroughly investigated, Lee could also be punishable.

An official of the prosecution explained, “We didn’t get the whole picture on Samsung’s bonds until this past September, and only on December 12 did we get a deposition from Choi that he had in fact received those bonds from lawmaker Lee.”

Lee was summoned in December 2003 on charges of receiving 100 million won from the Sun and Moon Corporation and giving it to President Roh Moo-hyun’s camp. He was investigated and indicted, but only sentenced to a 30 million won fine and retained his post in the National Assembly. Early this year, in January, he was also sentenced to an 800,000 won fine for violating election laws.

In May, he was summoned for allegedly being involved in the Russian oil field investigation, but was not indicted when the investigation ended. On October 31, he was once again summoned by the special prosecution for the oil field case, but escaped indictment.

Bonds Bought in the Name of Chairman Lee Kun-hee—

According to prosecution, Samsung Group bought 83.7 billion won worth of bearer’s bonds in the name of Lee Kun-hee from October 2000 to December 2002.

It has been confirmed that 36.11 billion won in bonds out of that total flowed to politicians. The Grand National Party received 32.47 billion won, Roh Moo-hyun’s campaign received 2.1 billion won, and former United Liberal Democrats Chairman Kim Jong-pil received 1.54 billion won. Another 3.26 billion won was used for private purposes including as bonuses for retiring employees. The remaining 44.33 billion won is still in Samsung’s possession.

The prosecution announced, “It has been confirmed that the bonds were bought with Chairman Lee’s private assets, but their use as political funds was done under Vice Chairman Lee Hak-soo’s orders.”