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Samsung to hire IRS expert

Samsung Electronics said Wednesday it was likely to hire a senior official from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

A Samsung Electronics official said that the company was in talks with Victor Song, chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation, to give him a seat on Samsung’s compliance team at its U.S. unit.

“It’s true that the talks are progressing on the hiring (of Victor Song), but it is yet to be finalized,” said a company spokesman. “But there is a high possibility it will be.”

The official also said that Song’s duty will focus more on compliance rather than patent issues, but the details of his duties will be specified later.

However, local media reported earlier that Song will start as vice president of the firm in January and that he has already informed the IRS about his transfer.

Some expect the hiring of Song to give Samsung more clout in its patent disputes with Apple, which involve about 30 cases in nine different countries including Australia, the U.S., Japan and the Netherlands.

Considering that the U.S. government agent with 30 years of experience has a number of connections in government agencies in Europe and Asia as well as the U.S., he is projected to play the role of collecting crucial overseas information at Samsung. He will also reportedly give advices to Samsung’s executives on strengthening supervision within the firm.

As a third-generation Korean born in Hawaii, Song has been taking charge of the law enforcement arm of the IRS since last year. He is highest-ranking Asian government official in the United States’ 30 investigation agencies.

IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) investigates potential violations of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code as well as related financial crimes ― such as criminal tax, money laundering and bank secrecy act violations ― to enhance the tax system and compliance with the law. It is the only federal agency in the U.S. which can look into potential criminal violations of the IRC.

Song, born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1958, received his bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Hawaii.

He joined the IRS in 1981 and became a special agent two years later in 1983. After leading many CI offices, he joined the senior executive service in 2004 and was positioned as the CI deputy officer in 2007.

He is also the grandson of Chung Doo-ok, a Korean independence fighter who immigrated to Hawaii in 1904 to raise funds to take part in the independence movement.

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)
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