Lee Jae-yong (Yonhap)
A civic group in South Korea said Monday it has filed a criminal complaint against Samsung’s de-facto chief Lee Jae-yong for breaking an employment ban imposed on him following a conviction of bribery.
The Seoul-based Solidarity for Economic Reform, in its complaint lodged with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, accused the Samsung Electronics vice chairman for violating a local law that bans economic figures convicted of breach of trust, embezzlement or bribery from working for relevant businesses for a certain period of time.
It said a same complaint has been filed against Kumho Petrochemical Chairman Park Chan-koo, as well.
“Despite being notified by the authority of the employment ban, both Park and Lee are still holding their titles at Kumho and Samsung, which means that they are maintaining their employment status,” it claimed in a press statement.
“The two have violated Article 14, Clause 1 of Specific Economic Crime Act and they are subject to a criminal punishment.”
While Samsung’s Lee is currently serving two years and six months behind bars for bribery worth 8.6 billion won to former President Park Geun-hye, Kumho’s Park was sentenced to a suspended three-year imprisonment on charges including breach of trust totaling roughly 3.2 billion won.
The civic group claimed that both Lee and Park still had employment contracts with their companies, which should have terminated upon the notification of the employment ban.
It also stressed, “There should not be a pardon or early release for Lee, who has committed another crime while serving the sentence.”
Samsung and Kumho argue the titles are only symbolic, and should not be seen as an evidence of their employment at the firms.
Samsung did not release any comment on the latest accusation.
The group has earlier said that Lee is not being employed full-time, despite the vice chairman title. Lee has not received any salary from Samsung since 2017.
Kumho also highlights that Park recently stepped down from the chief executive officer post.
The Solidarity for Economic Reform, however, says the two should step down from the chairmanship or vice chairmanship, symbolic or not.
“Holding the public titles at companies means they are employed,” the group asserted. “As long as they keep their posts, they are continuing to violate the law, and other chaebols leaders might resort to similar expedients in the future.”
By Song Su-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org