Thursday, September 24, 2009

Korean Crackdown On Industry Corruption

Government Drive Disgruntles Some Businessmen
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH KOREA – Major raids by anti corruption officials have caused a drop in share prices for certain companies. Korea Express, the Seoul based port terminal and logistics operator, are today at the centre of controversy after their Busan based operation saw computers and documents seized yesterday.

Opponents in the country have alleged for years that Korea Express maintained a “slush fund” to ensure they obtained contracts and smoothed their path with elected officials. They were implicated in the allegations surrounding Kang Moo-hyun, the ex Maritime Affairs Minister and have been openly accused of bribing shipping companies to utilise the company’s facilities.

A statement by a company official who refused to be identified said that the Busan operation was self regulated as a recent acquisition by the group and that the company headquarters were uninvolved and unaware of any wrongdoing.

Seoul prosecutors office would not comment on the case but they have confirmed that they are under instructions to clamp down on illegal economic activity in the country following a directive from President Lee Myung-bak who has promised to remove the element of social corruption endemic in parts of industry. The presidents predecessor Mr Roh Moo-hyun jumped from a mountain to his death in May, after a bribery scandal.

In a separate raid the offices of Doosan Infracore, a major construction company were also raided amid allegations of wrongdoing with regard to Government contracts. Some local businessmen are reported as being “disgruntled” by the crackdown as they have long viewed an element of “graft” as a useful business tool.

Pic : Busan Freight Port