South Korea and Lee Kun-hee

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  • Topic: South Korea, Lee Myung-bak, Lee Kun-hee
  • Pages : 2 (702 words )
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  • Published : April 21, 2013
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Lee Kun-hee resigned from Samsung in 2008 after being indicted and found guilty of embezzlement and tax evasion in Samsung's infamous slush funds scandal. Kim Yong-chul alleged that the company had a 200 billion won (roughly $200 million) budget for bribing prosecutors and politicians into turning a blind eye to its legal misconduct. Despite prosecutors seeking seven years in jail with a fine of 350 billion won ($350 million), Lee was handed a suspended three-year sentence and fined just 110 billion won ($100 million) — a relative pittance for the world's 106th richest man. Months later, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak gave Lee Kun-hee a second personal pardon so that he could remain on the International Olympic Committee; the Samsung chairman went on to lead a successful bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang. Amidst widespread criticism that the incident highlighted the favorable treatment given to corrupt chaebol executives, Lee returned as Samsung Electronics chairman the following year. Samsung's sense of crisis was further heightened earlier this year by its devastating loss to Apple in court. A jury found that several Samsung products copied Apple devices in their design and ordered the Korean company to pay over $1 billion in compensation. Mobile chief JK Shin had previously told his staff that the company was suffering a "crisis of design" while attempting to overthrow Nokia, and Samsung thereby turned its attention towards Apple with the development of the first Galaxy S. Unfortunately, this application of Lee's crisis culture thinking led the company down the path that was eventually closed off by Judge Lucy Koh in emphatic fashion. The issue speaks to Samsung's culture at large; despite huge financial success and a recognisable style starting to become apparent in devices such as the Galaxy S III, the company is yet to create a truly breakthrough, iconic product in the vein of the iPhone or Walkman. That will need to be rectified if...
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