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(LEAD) Samsung to strengthen compliance programs via in-house committee

All News 18:44 January 02, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks from Lee Jae-yong, additional information, minor edits in paras 2-3, 5-7; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top conglomerate Samsung Group said Thursday that it will strengthen its compliance programs by forming a groupwide committee dedicated to better complying with its own internal structure and related laws and regulations, as its key executives, including the group's de facto heir Lee Jae-yong, were embroiled in unlawful acts.

Samsung said it is preparing to establish a compliance program led by former Supreme Court Justice Kim Ji-hyung, who previously headed a mediation committee to settle a long-standing dispute over work environment and employee illness issues at Samsung Electronics Co.

This file photo taken Aug. 29, 2019, shows a Samsung Group logo. (Yonhap)

Samsung's latest move comes after the judge presiding over Lee's bribery case ordered the conglomerate's apparent heir to come up with measures to prevent Samsung from committing wrongdoings in a court hearing in October.

The judge then called Lee to conduct sweeping internal reform and improve a compliance system. He also emphasized the need for efforts to address problems stemming from the family-run chaebol system.

In an apparent attempt to highlight his efforts to reform the company, Lee vowed to move away from what he called "wrongful practices."

"Good performances in the past do not guarantee success in the future," Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, said during a visit to a chip R&D center in Hwaseong, just south of Seoul.

"Let us boldly discard wrongful practices and ways of thinking and explore a new future," he added.

In the photo, provided by Samsung Electronics Co., Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong (L) is seen shaking hands with workers during his visit to a company R&D center in Hwaseong, located some 40 kilometers south of Seoul, on Jan. 2, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Lee was indicted in 2017 for giving bribes to a longtime friend of former President Park Geun-hye as he sought backing in succeeding his father and securing the throne of Samsung Group.

Senior executives of Samsung Electronics last month were found guilty of sabotaging a labor union, which resulted in a prison term for the company's board chairman Lee Sang-hoon.

Industry observers expect Samsung to roll out additional measures to strengthen its compliance programs.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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