Samsung indictmentsA special counsel’s investigation into Samsung Group, which began with accusations by a civic group and lawyer Kim Yong-chul, wrapped up in about 120 days. Parts of three major accusations — illegal transfer of Samsung Group control, a slush fund and tax evasion and bribery of influential figures in the country — have proved to be true. Ten executives, including Chairman Lee Kun-hee, were indicted without detention.
The special team found more than the prosecutors’ office did in its earlier investigation. The first stage of the legal procedure about suspicions of corruption in Samsung Group has come to an end. Now the court will look into the indictments and decide whether they are guilty.
We believe this probe applied strict standards of law on illegal deeds which have long been customary in managing and governing conglomerates.
As special prosecutor Cho Joon-woong explained, allegations regarding Samsung Group stemmed in part from the discrepancy between the reality of conglomerate management and ownership and the system of laws and institutions. This is why the same case is often interpreted differently from person to person, depending on their situation or perspective.
The independent investigation counsel is said to have thought seriously about this gap after its findings about the company’s illegal transfer of control, massive tax evasion and murky book-keeping.
The easiest way might be to indict most of the suspects, pass all the burden to the court, and forget about Samsung Group’s value and role in the world economy. Most of the people would probably applaud this decision.
However, the counsel selected only those who were deeply involved and indicted them. The law applies equally to all and should be applied as such. However, it is not entirely right to apply the law blindly and literally without consideration of special circumstances of individuals or the times.
The special investigation team showed a mature and flexible attitude. People will turn their attention to whether the court follows suit. Samsung Group now needs to wait for the court’s ruling and prepare for the future.
Most of the public hopes that Samsung Group will be reborn as a world-class company with a new management system that meets global standards. By learning through this adversity, most hope the company continues as a global leader that helps other Korean firms advance on the global stage.