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FKI chairman raises doubts about anti-graft law

[THE INVESTOR] The head of the leading lobby group of local conglomerates, Federation of Korean Industries, has raised doubts about a local anti-graft law that will be implemented in September this year.

“In the past, we have seen laws get scrapped or become nonexistent if they are too unrealistic. I am concerned that the anti-graft law will follow the same pattern,” said Huh Chang-soo, who is also chairman of GS Group, at a FKI-hosted CEO forum on July 28. 

GS Group chairman Huh Chang-soo.
GS Group chairman Huh Chang-soo.

“Furthermore, many will try to cheat the law, but there will be no way to weed out all the culprits.”

On July 28, Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled that the law is constitutional after some key opinion groups including journalists asked for a review.

The law, also known as the Kim Young-ran law for the proposer it was named after, applies stringent limits to the amount of gifts or meals that civil workers, journalists, and private school teachers may be treated to. As many as 4 million people will be subject to the new law. But legislators were made an exception.

Restaurant owners and those in the livestock or meat industry have raised concerns, but the opposition political party said it was a move in the right direction.

Former Vice Minister Kwon Tae-shin, currently the head of Korea Economic Research Institute, noted that the court decision may not have fully or accurately reflected the current economic reality.

Regarding the upcoming Aug.15 Liberation Day pardons, Huh said he hopes for as many as possible to be pardoned so they can work for the economy.

“(The business people behind bars) have been there long enough, and are all sorry for what they did,” Huh said.

In particularly, he strongly pushed for the release of CJ Group chairman Lee Jay-hyun, noting his failing health. Meanwhile, SK Group vice chairman Chey Jae-won was released on parole on July 29.

Huh’s term as the FKI chief ends in February 2017.

By Kim Ji-hyun (
Korea Herald daum