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Newspaper Exec Banned from Leaving Korea

Posted January. 21, 2008 08:16,   


The chairman of the major daily JoongAng Ilbo, Hong Seok-hyun, has received a travel ban in connection to the Samsung Group’s slush fund scandal.

The independent counsel said yesterday that Hong must testify on the suspicion that Samsung bribed certain politicians using slush funds.

Prosecutors also secured parts of investigation records on the 1997 “X-file” wiretap document from intelligence authorities related to Samsung’s lobbying of politicians.

In a recent phone interview with a media company, former Samsung attorney Kim Yong-chul said, “I drafted a nominal trust contract between (Samsung Group) Chairman Lee Kun-hee and Chairman Hong. What can I say if they deny that I did?”

The investigation is also examining 41 books of evidence on Samsung Everland’s illegal stock transfer in 1996. Several Samsung executives were convicted last year of helping to issue the shares to Lee’s children at below market prices.

Prosecutors also summoned Yun Hyung-mo, vice president of Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, Lee Shil, vice president of Samsung SDI. Both men are alleged to have set up more than 1,000 bank accounts for other people in their names.

verso@donga.com dnsp@donga.com