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Samsung Deposited $1 Bil. into Directors’ Accounts

Posted February. 06, 2008 03:09,   


The independent investigation into the Samsung Group’s slush fund scandal yesterday found that most deposits into Samsung directors’ bank accounts used by the conglomerate were made in cash. The aggregate figured reportedly exceeds one trillion won, or more than one billion U.S. dollars.

Independent counsel Cho Jun-woong confirmed the finding after examining 200 bank accounts of former and current Samsung directors.

The conglomerate’s corporate restructuring headquarters is believed to have opened and managed the accounts. Thus prosecutors will question key managers at the strategic planning division and the holders of the accounts to see who deposited the money and how.

Investigators said the group systematically laundered certain funds before they were deposited into the accounts in cash.

They are also looking into methods that Samsung might have used to launder the money, including internal trading and cross-subsidiary transactions, window dressing and investing the late Samsung founder’s money into Samsung stock for bigger returns.

Despite the findings, the team is apparently cautious about subpoenaing key players in the scandal, such as Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Hak-soo and the strategic planning division’s President Kim In-joo. The two will be grilled after the preliminary probe is completed.

Prosecutors also summoned seven Samsung directors yesterday as material witnesses, including Lee Mu-yeol of Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Kim Hak-song of Samsung Life Insurance. The summons was Lee’s third.

Two Samsung Life staff members have been arrested on charges of obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence. A further investigation will precede their indictment.

If convicted, the managers could face up to five years in prison for obstruction of justice and up to five years and fines of up to seven million won for destruction of evidence.