Samsung's Troubles Continue as they Get Dragged into a Political Scandal Accusing them of Influence-Peddling
According to a report today, Samsung Electronics Co. has been dragged into South Korea's presidential scandal after investigators raided its headquarters, the latest headache facing Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee as he tries to navigate a path out of its product recall crisis.
South Korean prosecutors entered the offices of Samsung as they search for evidence the smartphone maker illegally provided gifts for a confidante of President Park Geun-hye that is at the center of an influence-peddling investigation. The company confirmed the raid and declined to comment further.
The prosecutor's raid comes as Lee deals with fallout from the exploding Note 7 debacle, which is estimated to cost the company more than $6 billion. The 48-year-old, who only joined the board last month, also has to contend with a U.S. recall of its washing machines and a push by activist investor Paul Elliott Singer for Samsung to restructure, return cash to investors and improve transparency.
"Right now, the Corporate Strategy Office is in a state of panic," said Kim Sang-Jo, executive director of the community group Solidarity for Economic Reform and a professor of economics at Hansung University, referring to Lee and other executives who lead the company. "Demands for Samsung to improve its management structure will intensify among institutional investors and personal investors, and even among civic groups like mine." For more on this, read the full Bloomberg report here.
Earlier today we reported on Vice Chairman Lee placing a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal apologizing for both their Galaxy Note7 and top-loading washers which caused fires and explosions.
The Korean people have poured into the streets to protest South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Park has been severely bruised by the scandal involving her friend, Choi Soon-sil, who is alleged to have used her closeness to the president to meddle in state affairs and wield influence in the sports and cultural communities.
Choi has been charged with abuse of power and fraud while a former aide has been charged with abuse of power and extortion after they helped raise 77.4 billion won ($68 million) from dozens of the country's biggest conglomerates on behalf of two foundations."
It makes you wonder if similar protests would break out in the U.S. if the FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation ever led to charges against the Clintons regarding Pay to Play for the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was U.S. Secretary of State.
For now, the Samsung crisis continues in yet another direction testing Samsung's heir apparent. Samsung has a long history of corruption, covered in reports from the Independent, The Verge and Business Insider amongst many more.
Chairman Lee has to be praying that this government scandal doesn't drag on well into 2017 to mire the debut of the Galaxy S8 which needs to be a grand-slam home run out of the park product hit to get Samsung Electronics back on the right track.
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