If Samsung errs, panel could name and shame

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If Samsung errs, panel could name and shame

Financial transactions and donations are two of the focuses of a panel newly established to monitor seven Samsung Group companies, according to a statement released by the surveillance body after its first meeting.

The committee of seven, which was formed to mitigate risks following an influence-peddling scandal involving the group during the Park Geun-hye administration, said on Wednesday that it will monitor activities of seven Samsung Group companies and their CEOs and executives.

It will require the companies to report details of mergers and acquisitions, transactions between related parties and charitable donations.

Remedies were also announced on Wednesday, up to and including naming and shaming the offending companies and executives.

The monitored companies are: Samsung Electronics, Samsung Life Insurance, Samsung C&T, Samsung SDI, Samsung SDS, Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance.

Kim Ji-hyung, a former Supreme Court justice, presided over the first meeting, which was held on Wednesday at the headquarters of Samsung Life Insurance in Seocho District, southern Seoul. It lasted six hours.

The panel said the companies must “report on the mergers and the deals between affiliates and associated people and provide further details when requested by the panel.”

The seven companies were also ordered to notify the body of any donations made and deals between Samsung companies.

Donations are in the spotlight, as charitable giving was at the center of the scandal that resulted in the impeachment of the former president.

If the committee detects a questionable event, it can report it to the board of the relevant company. If the behavior persists, the committee can publicize the worrying activity on a website run by the surveillance body.

The surveillance body will have direct access to the top managements of the seven companies and will not have to work through existing compliance teams at the companies.

In the long-running trial related to the influence-peddling case, a judge at the Seoul High Court demanded in October that Samsung Group develop a system to ensure that it and its leaders follow relevant laws, regulations and business rules.

In addition to Kim, six others are on the panel, including two professors, a lawyer, two members of civil societies and a Samsung Electronics adviser.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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