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`Hanwha Tried to Bribe Whistleblower over Slush Funds`

Posted October. 18, 2010 10:45,   


The Financial Supervisory Service has gathered circumstantial evidence that the Hanwha Group tried to cover up a slush fund scandal by bribing a whistleblower, reports said Sunday.

The conglomerate is under investigation for suspicion of amassing secret funds.

Lawmakers at the National Assembly`s National Policy Committee are conducting a probe into whether the group took steps to cover up the scandal.

According to politicians and prosecutors, a former Hanwha employee in mid-June reported the group’s slush funds to the financial watchdog and presented five bank accounts as evidence. On Aug. 16, a Hanwha Securities executive went to see the whistleblower and gave him 50 million won (45,000 U.S. dollars) in hush money.

The whistleblower took the money at the time but returned it to the brokerage through a postal money order. He then submitted to the financial watchdog documented evidence of receiving and returning the money to the company.

Financial authorities, who had taken action after receiving the evidence, handed over all records of the case to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office after the scandal broke out.

Prosecutors confirmed that the group amassed slush funds in Hanwha Securities accounts under the names of company employees and executives. Ten current and former employees and executives had travel bans placed to prevent them from fleeing the country.

The whistleblower was questioned several times by prosecutors but his whereabouts are unknown.

The group said prosecutors found that the 50 million won originated from the whistleblower’s account.

The financial watchdog is known to have told parliament, “We transferred the case to prosecutors after due process, and the transfer coincided with the revelation of the bribery.”