South Korean lawmaker loses seat over Samsung wiretaps
SEOUL (AP) - A South Korean lawmaker known for criticism of the Samsung conglomerate has forfeited his seat in Parliament after the Supreme Court ruled he violated communications laws by publishing incriminating wiretaps of conversations between Samsung officials on the Internet.
South Korea's top court upheld a lower court's conviction of lawmaker Roh Hoe Chan and a suspended prison sentence. He published transcripts of conversations between an aide to Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun Hee and Mr Lee's brother-in-law that were recorded by the national intelligence agency. The conviction disqualifies Roh from being a lawmaker.
A press release issued by Roh in 2005 included a transcript of the conversations, which revealed the names of prosecutors who were showered with cash by Samsung. He also posted the transcript to his website.
Roh, who was a lawmaker for the opposition Progressive Justice Party, has been a vocal critic of Samsung, South Korea's most powerful conglomerate, which dominates the country's economy. In testimony to the National Assembly in 2005, he used the wiretapped conversations to call for an investigation into Samsung's relationships with prosecutors. The probe led to the resignation of a vice justice minister, but prosecutors only indicted Roh and a journalist for releasing the wiretaps.