Bribes, prosecutors on the take, tax evasion and slush funds. It sounds like organized crime, but if we're to believe Kim Yong-chul, author of Think Samsung, all these terrible things happen at popular electronics company Samsung. All the time.
Trouble for Kim (former top legal counsel, Samsung) is Samsung is not only the largest electronics company by revenue in the world, it's also one of the most—in the words of the New York Times—sacrosanct in South Korea. Untouchables, indeed.
This is a big part of the reason why no real media outlet or web site has reviewed Think Samsung, and why the one publication that has "reviewed" the book decided not to mention the book or the author by name.
In any event, the allegations put forth in the book are unbelievable; the amount of money changing hands staggering:
Mr. Kim accused [Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee] and his loyal aides of having stolen as much as 10 trillion won, or $9 billion, from Samsung subsidiaries and stashed it in stock and bank accounts illegally opened in the names of executives.
The book alleges that they shredded books, fabricated evidence and bribed politicians, bureaucrats, prosecutors, judges and journalists, mainly to ensure that they would not stand in the way of Mr. Lee's illegal transfer of corporate control to his only son, Lee Jae-yong, 41.
Even without the media's help, Kim's book has enjoyed moderate success in South Korea, thanks mostly to Twitter and other online outlets. The success has come at a price however, as most of Kim's friends and acquaintances have pretty much abandoned him. He spends most of time these days organzing Samsung boycotts. [New York Times, Image: NYT]