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Archive for August, 2017

박상우

Park Sang-hoon regularly receives expensive gifts from Samsung although he represents five victims of the company’s occupational disease cluster.  Source:  Hwawoo.org

Media Expose:  Samsung, In Effect, Bribes Cluster Victims’ Lawyer

A lawyer who represents victims of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s blood-disorder cluster has been being showered with expensive gifts by a senior executive of the company’s parent.

Chang Choong-ki, former president of Samsung Group’s Future Strategy Office (FSO), regularly gifted expensive concert tickets, worth $250-$300 apiece, to Park Sang-hoon, a lawyer representing five Samsung cluster victims seeking workers compensation, multiple media outlets reported on Aug. 8, citing text messages between Chang and Park.

Nerve Center

Responsible for inter-affiliate coordination, the FSO is the nerve center of the mega-conglomerate’s flagship Samsung Electronics and 60-plus other affiliates.  Unaccountable to disclosure regulations, the office’s operations are shrouded in secrecy.  However, the widely known fact in South Korea is that it runs a vast network of gift–giving and bribery that is deeply seated in politics, bureaucracy, the judiciary, and the press.

Since Feb. 2017, Chang, 63 years old, and Samsung executives were indicted for bribery charges implicating Samsung vice chairman Lee Jae-yong and Park Geun-hye (not related to Park, the lawyer), the president who was impeached in Dec. 2016.

The latest revelations showed Samsung’s tentacles have reached the legal counsel of its occupational disease victims.

Switching Sides for Cultured Life?

Attorney Park, 55 years old, is a former judge and a partner with one of the country’s largest law firms, Yoon & Yang LLC.

When Park began to receive gifts from Samsung’s Chang has yet to be determined. However, in a text message to him in July 2016, Park said, “Thanks to Seoul Arts Center tickets you keep sending me, President Chang, I am living a cultured life richly.”

In 2011, on a pro bono basis, he played a role in winning a court decision that ruled that the diseases of two Samsung victims were occupationally caused.  It was the first-of-its kind courtroom win for SHARPS although three other victims’ cases were rejected.

However, Park seems to have switched sides by the time KCOMWEL, aided by Samsung, appealed the decision.

On June 26, 2014, in the appeals court, Park abruptly asked the judge to postpone the ruling on Hwang Yu-mi, the first publicly known victim of the Samsung cluster, because Samsung, the defendant, had begun negotiations with other victims, said Lim Ja-woon, SHARPS’s legal counsel, in a Facebook post.   After protests by other lawyers and Hwang’s father, Hwang Sang-ki, Park rescinded the request, Lim added.

장충기

Chang Choong-ki’s  FSO is allegedly behind Samsung’s vast network of bribery.  Source: YouTube.

Split

In Oct. 2015, Park helped some families members of Samsung victims splinter from SHARPS and form a separate group called the Family Settlement Committee.  After the split, Samsung walked out of the arbitration process, for which SHARPS had fought for years, and initiated a limited compensation scheme.

All these moves prompted SHARPS to begin a sit-in at Samsung’s corporate headquarters in Oct. 2015.  The sit-in is still ongoing.

Ombudsman

Park is also senior advisor for the Ombudsman Committee, an external monitoring structure for Samsung’s worker safety practice, which the company, the family committee, and SHARPS agreed to launch in 2016.

His job was to advise on the independence and neutrality of the committee, but Park appears to have clandestinely worked on behalf of Samsung’s interests.

In a text message to Chang, he said, “Thanks to your care and interest, the Ombudsman Committee will be put on a normal path.”  He went on with his lawyerly saying: “Three years of the committee’s activity will yield appropriate accomplishments.”

“I will play my own role as senior advisor,” he concluded.

Turncoat with Self-Confidence

By 2017, Park has become something of Samsung’s unofficial mouthpiece.  In March, he rather abruptly agreed to an exclusive interview with the conservative Dong A Ilbo.  It was when the issue of Samsung’s occupational disease cluster came into public focus again after the arrest of Lee Jae-yong.

“Taking issue with the collusive nexus of politics and business is a good thing,” Park said in the interview.  “However, that issue must not be tied to Samsung’s leukemia [cluster].”

“That will be like tangling what’s already untangled,” he warned, saying. “It will be an insult to me and others who worked hard to solve the issue [of Samsung’s cluster].”

Last week, Park was tapped to represent the MBC, the country’s TV network,  in a lawsuit seeking an injunction banning a tell-all documentary on how the network’s management harassed and fired its own journalists for calling for editorial independence against government meddling.

Park resigned from the family committee as legal counsel and from the Ombudsman Committee as senior advisor, after the text messages surfaced.

SHARPS said it would file criminal complaints against Park and Chang.

SHARPS’s Sit-in Continues

Since Oct. 7, 2015, SHARPS and its supporters have been staging a sit-in at Samsung D’light, the company’s so-called global exhibition space in south Seoul, calling for the world’s largest technology company to:  1) compensate all victims of occupational disease transparently and sufficiently; and 2) make a sincere and full apology.

 

 

 

 

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Samsung victims and SHARPS activists were attacked and verbally abused by tens of far-right thugs as they submitted a petition to the court calling for a punishment to fit the crimes of Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd.

On Aug. 7, the special prosecutors demanded 12 years in jail for Lee.  The heir apparent of the world’s largest technology company was arrested in Feb. 2016, on five accounts of bribery and influence-peddling.  The charges center on about $37 million in bribes and gifts he paid Choi Soon-sil, the shamanic confidante of President Park Geun-hye who was impeached early this year.

Bribes

The charges largely stem from the National Pension Service’s vote in favor of a controversial merger in 2015 between two Samsung affiliates that cemented Lee’s control of Samsung Electronics.  The merger cost the public’s retirement fund KRW 346.8 billion ($302 million), even according to the NPS’s own estimates. 

The Trial of The Century

The courtroom of Lee’s trial, dubbed the “trial of the century” by Korean media, is often filled by Samsung employees and hard-core supporters of Park, making it hard for SHARPS and Samsung victims to get their seats.

Attack

On Aug. 7, it was these far-rightists that attacked Han Hye-kyung, a 39-year-old wheelchair-bound victim of the Samsung blood-disorder cluster, and her mother, Kim Si-nyeo, 60 years old, as they submitted the petition signed by 2,729 people demanding the punishment to the fullest extent of the law for Lee.

The rightwing bigots threw expletives at the two women, pushing and slapping SHARPS supporters.  They derided Han’s handicapped condition, to the point that she covered her ears and burst into tears.  Her mother, Han, slumped against a wall, wailing.

The rightwing mob also attempted to attack special prosecutor Park Young-soo.  They threw water bottles at Park who managed to enter into the court, escorted by phalanxes of police officers.

This is not the first time pro-Park thugs attacked Samsung victims and SHARPS advocates.  In January 2017, tens of members of Mommies’ Troop, the far-right group of middle-aged females allegedly bankrolled by the Federation of Korean Industries, attempted to raid SHARPS’s sit-in.  They ripped SHARPS’s banners and posters, yelling, “Let’s defend Lee Jae-yong.”  Police were brought to the scene.  Two thugs were criminally charged later.

SHARPS’s Sit-in Continues

Since Oct. 7, 2015, SHARPS and its supporters have been staging a sit-in at Samsung D’light, the company’s so-called global exhibition space in south Seoul, calling for the world’s largest technology company to:  1) compensate all victims of occupational disease transparently and sufficiently; and 2) make a sincere and full apology.

 

Read Full Post »