Samsung formally quits top lobbying group FKI

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Samsung formally quits top lobbying group FKI

Samsung said Monday it has submitted a letter of withdrawal from the Federation of Korean Industries, following in the footsteps of LG, the nation’s fourth largest conglomerate.

Samsung’s move comes two months after its de facto leader, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, vowed to pull out of the lobbying group that represents Korea’s chaebol during a parliamentary hearing on the corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her inner circle.

The FKI was implicated directly in the scandal after it was found to have played a leading role in forcing major conglomerates to cough up funds for two foundations established by President Park’s friend Choi Soon-sil.

Samsung’s decision will involve 15 of its own subsidiaries and is expected to spur other conglomerates to follow suit. Korea’s second and third largest groups - Hyundai Motor and SK - are known to be considering abandoning the federation.

LG announced its departure on Dec. 27. Donations from the four top conglomerates have conventionally accounted for 70 percent of the total annual fees at the FKI. The FKI has some 600 corporate members. It was initially launched by Samsung founder Lee Byung-chull in 1961.

The federation is holding a general meeting at the end of this month to discuss candidates to replace current chairman Huh Chang-soo, who also chairs GS, and how to overhaul the organization.

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