Samsung to U.S. reporter: ‘We are not North Korea’

Multinational South Korean conglomerate Samsung slammed statements from a U.S. journalist that compared the company to the regime in North Korea.

South Korean conglomerate Samsung denied a statement from a U.S. journalist comparing the company to the Kim Jong Un regime. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
South Korean conglomerate Samsung denied a statement from a U.S. journalist comparing the company to the Kim Jong Un regime. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Samsung’s communications office said the journalist, Geoff Cain, made false statements not based in reality, South Korean news service Money Today reported.

Samsung said some of the statements related to Cain’s 2009 visit to a Samsung office were not true.

“Whether in 2009 or the present, there are no Samsung offices filled with words of praise for Chairman Lee Kun-hee,” the company said Tuesday.

In a recent interview with progressive newspaper Hankyoreh, Cain described a visit to Samsung eight years ago as a correspondent for the Global Post.

The interview, which was published in Korean, included a moment during Cain’s visit when he said he saw “words” throughout the company that praised Lee, a second-generation Samsung heir.

Cain also said senior Samsung executives would memorize Lee’s speeches.

He then drew a comparison between the company and North Korea.

Samsung’s communications office said Tuesday “countless visitors from Korea and abroad have visited Samsung, but not one person has ever witnessed such an incident.”

Cain also said company employees agreed sporting events held for staff were like the events held in North Korea, and that he found it challenging to understand why employees maintained loyalty to the firm, according to the Hankyoreh.

Samsung added the Hankyoreh report hurt employees’ self-esteem and through a distorted picture of the firm “damaged the image of the company.”

Cain’s upcoming book on the global electronics manufacturer is undergoing legal review prior to publication with Crown in 2018, according to Asia Times.

Cain told Asia Times in November hereditary business management is “becoming a liability” in South Korea.

Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to five years in prison in August 2017 after being accused of bribery, embezzlement and perjury.

By Elizabeth Shim