Money laundering? Samsung keeps mum on allegations

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By Nam Hyun-woo – The Korea Times

Samsung Electronics has remained silent on a news report alleging that its unit in the Netherlands received $93 million from paper companies based in tax havens via a Lithuanian bank involved in international money laundering schemes.

Samsung officials refused to confirm or deny the report, the same stance they take whenever unfavorable media reports surface.

News Tapa reported Tuesday night that four paper companies in British Virgin Islands, Panama and other regions sent a total $93 million to Samsung Electronics Overseas B.V., a Netherlands-based unit of the tech titan, from 2005 to 2010.

Those companies used accounts at Ukio Bankas, a Lithuanian bank that went bankrupt in 2013 over its alleged involvement in a global money laundering scheme.

The report alleged that the companies were involved in other money laundering scandals, and it found a signature assumed to belong to Yun Jong-yong, vice chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics from 2000 to 2008 and adviser from 2008 to 2011, in a 2009 bill demanding payments from one of those paper companies for products Samsung Electronics Overseas sold.

News Tapa also reported that a total $3.3 million was sent to Samsung through accounts at Ukio Bankas. Most of the amount was from a New Zealand-based firm suspected of being a paper company.

Samsung Electronics did not respond to this allegation. An official at the company said, “The company has no plan to make any kind of response to this,” without confirming or denying the allegation.

Yun’s spokesperson also told News Tapa that the signature is not his and Yun has no idea why his name is on the bill.

Sources said it seems Samsung is trying not to be distracted by negative issues that happened many years ago.

“This isn’t a buzzword in Samsung Electronics,” a source knowledgeable about Samsung said. “There was a similar report in 2017 and it seems the company does not want to put its energy into defending itself from what happened long ago.”

A public relations official at a domestic conglomerate said he could understand why Samsung is taking such a stance.

“I don’t know whether the report is true or not, but I can understand why Samsung is keeping silent,” he said. “Any response from Samsung will make the issue bigger, whether it is true or not.”

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