South Korea Launches Bribery Investigation of Samsung

South Korean business conglomerate Samsung Group is now under investigation, prosecutors announced Monday, after Kim Yong-chul, a former top Samsung legal affairs official for the conglomerate, released names of senior prosecutors he claims took bribes. Kim Kyung-soo, a spokesman for the Supreme Public Prosecutors' Office, said that a probe had begun, though he refused to give any details; in addition, a criminal lawsuit was filed last week by two civic organizations against three top Samsung executives.

Kim Yong-chul claims that Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee orchestrated bribes sent to prosecutors, judges, government officials, lawmakers and journalists. Among those fingered by Yong-chul were two current prosecutors, including prosecutor-general appointee Lim Chai-jin, and one former prosecutor, regularly took bribes from Samsung. Unsurprisingly, all of the prosecutors cited by Kim denied the allegations and the Samsung Group, which includes Samsung Electronics Co., last week released a 25-page statement rebutting the claims. Samsung spokesman Yim Jun-seok said late Monday that the group would cooperate in the investigation.

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