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Samsung Electronics chairman indicted on charges of union sabotage

31 other executives from Samsung and its affiliates also charged

Samsung Photo: Sean O’Kane / The Verge

Lee Sang-hoon, the chairman of Samsung Electronic’s board of directors, has been indicted for allegedly sabotaging unions in what prosecutors claim is a violation of South Korea’s labor laws, reports the Financial Times. Lee, who became chairman in March of this year, will face trial along with 31 other executives from Samsung and its affiliates. It’s the latest in a long series of corruption charges against Samsung executives.

Prosecutors in the case claim that Samsung has an ongoing policy of not tolerating labor unions, which has resulted in less than 300 of the company’s 200,000 South Korean employees becoming members of such organisations. Lee is accused of attempting to sabotage a newly formed labor union in 2013, when he was CFO, in what prosecutors have called “an organized crime that mobilized the whole company to its full capacity.”

The executives involved are accused of threatening to cut wages from employees and withdraw business from subcontractors that supported unionization.

The indictment comes just months after Samsung’s de facto leader, Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, was released from prison on a suspended sentence for corruption charges relating to South Korea’s impeached president Park Geun-hye. Park is currently serving a 24-year sentence.