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Samsung Group gets partial go ahead to rejoin S. Korea's largest business lobby group

Aug. 18, 2023 - 16:03 By Shim Woo-hyun
An Independent compliance oversight committee Chairman Lee Chan-hee speaks to reporters after the committee's meeting held on Friday. (Yonhap)

An independent compliance committee responsible for oversight of South Korea's largest conglomerate, Samsung, gave a partial go-ahead for the group’s reentry to the Federation of Korean Industries, the country’s largest business interest group.

Samsung withdrew from the FKI in 2017, after a high-profile corruption scandal involving Samsung Chairman Lee Jae-yong and the ousted former President Park Geun-hye.

“The committee did not confirm whether Samsung should join or not join the business interest group. Instead, the committee delivered its concerns and terms and conditions that Samsung should strictly follow upon re-joining the group,” committee chairman Lee Chan-hee told reporters after a committee meeting on Friday.

The chairman also noted that it has recommended Samsung "to immediately drop out of the FKI if the interest group attempts to maintain its cozy relationship with the government again.”

The committee also advised that Samsung must thoroughly review measures on how it will ensure accounting transparency, Lee added.

According to a local report Friday, several affiliates of Samsung Group have already decided to hold board meetings on Monday to decide their reentry to the business group.

Samsung’s rejoining in the group is expected to accelerate discussions about whether the country’s three other conglomerates, SK Group, LG Group and Hyundai Motor Group, should also rejoin the lobby group.

In 2017, the three other groups also withdrew from the FKI, sharing the responsibility for the business lobby group’s involvement in the high-profile corruption scandal in 2016.

Meanwhile, discussions on the reentry of Samsung Group, as well as other conglomerates, have emerged as the FKI will be relaunched in a board meeting on Aug. 22, where it is expected to pass resolutions regarding its merger with the Korea Economic Research Institute, FKI-affiliated think tank, as well as appointment Poongsan Group Chairman Ryu Jin as its new chairman.