[EDITORIALS]Businesses need clean books

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[EDITORIALS]Businesses need clean books

It has been disclosed that Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. has rigged accounts by inflating its sales or omitting production costs from 2000 to 2003; the amount was up to 1.4 trillion won ($1.3 billion).
Last March, Hyundai said that the amount was around 622.4 billion won, but an investigation of the Financial Supervisory Service found it was nearly double that.
Prior to the implementation of the class action lawsuit system next year, the business community is demanding the government pardon those involved in past book rigging. It is shocking that an additional book rigging case has been exposed.
Hyundai insists that different standards used in book keeping caused the gap in the amount involved. As the managers who were responsible for the fraudulent book keeping have escaped abroad, the present executives must be feeling slighted to a certain degree.
But they failed to candidly disclose the whole picture when the irregularities first surfaced in March. Now that the truth has been disclosed only by outside investigation, there are no excuses to make.
The people naturally regret to see corporations still engaged in rigging their accounts.
We have pointed out that it is not proper to make fraudulent book keeping of businesses the object of class action lawsuits. Aspects of the past economic and political environment forced businesses to inevitably engage in book cooking. Almost all businesses rigged their accounts. If such a negative legacy of the past is made the target of class action lawsuits, businesses cannot survive.
Therefore, we thought it desirable to clear the remnants of the past, taking a certain time as a starting point. We are disappointed and enraged at this situation which gives an impression that the practice didn’t stop at “a past practice,” but was ongoing even until recently. If businesses continue like this, how can we be asked to overlook past deeds?
Now that times have changed, the business community should change. Otherwise, they can’t be pardoned for their past misdeeds. Now they have to have transparent records. Then, we can find a good reason for asking amnesty for their past deeds.
The government authorities must investigate thoroughly so that other businesses that keep their books clean should not be damaged, and clarify where the lost money was used.
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