Could failing to pay your supplier merit a court order? And for your Chairman at that?
Well, that’s actually what India’s highest court did to Samsung chairman Lee Kun-Hee when a subsidiary was accused of failing to pay a supplier. Lee was then told to come to India to face criminal charges for this.
Okay, we all know that if you commit any crime (open that is since hidden ones get away), you’d certainly face the consequences.. whoever you are. However, many times, the rich and powerful uses their influence to control the law.
Before we go any further, how true is this accusation anyway? What were the circumstances then?
As we heard it, this is actually a 13-year case and it started when Samsung Dubai allegedly failed to pay India’s JCE Consultancy in 2001 after delivering its order of a coke calcination plant.
Samsung has since said in a press statement that “there are no grounds, let alone evidence, to support the accusation against Chairman Lee. Chairman Lee is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the many overseas subsidiaries of Samsung.”
Actually makes sense.
Then again, if you were the chairman especially of a multinational company, would you appear in India’s or any court? If you do, many would say that it’d send the wrong signal to investors. And I say that more than investors, media could turn your appearance into a carnival.
However if you don’t, you’d hurt your own rep and, that of your product as well. In this case, this is more about how your customers would view you. If this issue didn’t drag on for years, there wouldn’t have been this court and reputation thing.
Okay, Samsung was said to be a victim of a fraud scheme in Dubai. So? Why didn’t they go after those frauds while quietly settling matters with JCE? Don’t say you honored the bill of exchange or things like that. Why is there still a problem then?
Since it’s been so long and neglected, people would now want Samsung to show more sincerity. And ideally, they want to see a Leader who faces up to such challenges. A Leader who does not use his position to dictate the law. And Leader who takes responsibility.
Isn’t the customer more important than the investor? After all, there would be no business if there’s no customer.
What’s your take?