Thursday, August 03, 2006

Well at least we know about 10% of them

It may be a tough couple days for some foreign lawyers. Every so often I meet some US and EU businesspeople and lawyers and they hustle me into a corner, nervously adjust their necktie, and whisper in a conspiratorial tone "The legal system in Korea, is it, you know, um honest?". Part of me wants to tell them some of the inexplicable cases I have been involved in, the other part wants to respond "You mean there is NO legal corruption in YOUR country?". No matter what the right response is to the question, its going to be tough answering it in the near future as some of the results of the recent legal probes are beginning to migrate from the Korean press to the English-language Korean Press. I opted to leave out most commentary (make your own conclusions).

The Korean Supreme Court revealed that in an investigation that 10% of their justices made "mistakes" on their financial reporting forms in the 90s. I will say a partial revelation only makes it worse. A. Some of these "mistakes" are 15 years old B. It makes one wonder about the other 90%. Most damaging though is C. They do not name names nor mention if any of these judges are still on the bench. For all we know now at least 10% of the judges now siting have made "mistakes".

Second, the KBA is for the first time asking for an early suspension of some members who are indicted. Notable and readable for many reasons, but I find this interesting:

One of the nine lawyers took 26 million won ($27,000) from a suspect in detention, saying he would ask the judge on the case, whom he claimed as his high school junior, to reduce the charges, according to court documents. 

Some what an inside window for you uninitiated on how corruption can work in Korea.


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