Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong said Tuesday the nation’s largest conglomerate will stop paying its share of the nation’s largest business lobby’s budget.
“I will stop paying Samsung’s share to the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI),” Lee said during parliamentary questioning over a corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her shadowy friend Choi Soon-sil. “I will discontinue activities related to the FKI.”
Lee made the comment after Rep. Ha Tae-kyung of the ruling Saenuri Party, demanded he play a role in disbanding the lobby group.
“I will do everything I can in my capacity,” the vice chairman said.
The FKI is the nation’s largest business lobby group and Samsung is the biggest contributor to its annual budget. The lobby group is suspected of having pressed its member companies to donate money totaling 77 billion won to two foundations that Choi controlled. Choi is suspected of siphoning off funds from the foundations.
Many lawmakers spent their time questioning Lee over allegations that the company earned support from the National Pension Service (NPS) for its controversial merger of two affiliates in 2015 in exchange for its cash donation to Choi and her daughter, Chung Yu-ra. Lee denied all allegations raised against him and Samsung.
Lee is among the nine leaders of South Korea’s major conglomerates summoned to the National Assembly to be questioned over the scandal, especially their cozy ties with Choi and the President.
The summoned tycoons are Huh Chang-soo, GS Group Chairman and leader of the FKI; Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo; Hanjin Group Vice Chairman Cho Yang-ho; Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin; Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong; SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won; Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn; LG Group Chairman Ku Bon-moo; and CJ Group Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik.
The televised questioning centers on the companies’ alleged behind-the-scenes deals with Choi, and whether the President pressured them to donate to two foundations that Choi controlled.