Business Corruption in South Korea
Corruption may present an obstacle for businesses in South Korea, but the government is actively taking steps to remedy issues. The Criminal Code criminalises the main forms of corruption, and the Act on Anti-Corruption and the Establishment and Operation of the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission includes a Code of Conduct for public-sector employees and regulates conflicts of interest and asset disclosure. The Improper Solicitation and Graft Act (2015) eliminates a requrement to provide direct evidence between a monetary reward and a favour to secure a corruption conviction and holds companies liable for corrupt misconduct of their employees. Anti-corruption legislation is increasingly enforced in South Korea. Facilitation payments are prohibited, but they are permitted, under certain conditions, with respect to foreign officials. There is no minimum threshold for gifts. South Korea is under pressure to prove a will to fight corruption among its top politicians after a corruption scandal came to light involving a former prime minister and top business leaders in April 2015 (FT, Apr. 2015). The primary corruption-related issue concerns reported collusion between government officials and business, with officials being lenient to regulate business due to the prospect of eventual private-sector employment for public officials (Diplomat, May 2014).
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