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Committee Discusses Samsung Scandal Probe Bill

Posted November. 23, 2007 04:01,   


The Legislation and Judiciary Committee (LJC) on Tuesday convened a subcommittee to deliberate a bill to appoint special prosecutors for the Samsung slush fund scandal. The bill will be submitted to the plenary session through the general meeting of the LJC. As all the political parties have reached an agreement on the issue, there will be no problem passing the bill.

However, as the president’s pronouncement of the law, appointment of special prosecutors, and preparations might take up to 50 days, it will not be easy for special prosecutors to begin their investigation before the upcoming presidential election.

Furthermore, if President Roh Moo-hyun exercises his veto, as he has suggested, and requests the National Assembly to re-discuss the bill, the passage might not be possible within the 17th National Assembly.

The bill specifies areas of investigation such as speculation over the illegal succession of management control of the Samsung Group; speculations over Samsung slush funds allegedly raised from 1997 to date; the person or organization instructed to generate slush funds; and the size, method, and usage of such funds.

Also, the bill included a call for an investigation into the person or organization who instructed the bribes of a variety of figures, including illegal political funding during the 2002 presidential election, bribes to high-level politicians, the guidance and methods of lobbying, and the use of the names of Samsung executives. The speculation that the conglomerate sent “congratulatory money for the election” to President Roh will be subject to investigation as it was included in the purpose for submission of the bill.

Moreover, the bill allows for a broad investigation into the succession of management control, as well as speculation over slush funds, which could invite a backlash from the business community.

A special prosecutor will be appointed by the president among three figures that the Korean Bar Association recommends. His investigation will last 60 days after 20 days of preparation. He can extend the investigation period twice: 30 days for the first extension and 15 days for the second extension.