South Korean authorities raided Samsung Electronics offices on Friday due to allegations of anti-union activity on the part of the tech giant, with a representative of a local prosecutor's office confirming the move earlier today, Reuters reports. The facility targeted by the raid was that of Samsung's repair service division operating on the outskirts of the company's home city of Seoul. The development marks the second official investigation into Samsung's alleged endeavors meant to discourage its employees from unionizing. The firm was accused of making a concentrated effort to stop in-house unions in 2013 but a lack of evidence saw that case dropped after several months.
The new raid was possibly prompted by some evidence discovered as part of the government's recent investigation into Jay Y. Lee, Samsung Group Executive Chairman and the de facto heir of the country's largest chaebol – a family-run conglomerate. Mr. Lee spent the majority of 2017 incarcerated following accusations of corruption and bribery. While initially sentenced to five years in prison, an appellate court released him on probation in early February. Previous reports suggested local authorities discovered evidence of anti-union activity while raiding Samsung's offices in regards to the probe aimed at investigating Mr. Lee and his role in the 2015 merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T, two of the company's affiliates whose consolidation strengthened the scion's grasp over the firm and was approved by the country's largest pension fund despite the fact that the government organization lost millions of dollars as a direct consequence of the tie-up.
Samsung historically rarely cooperated with large unions in the Far Eastern country, whereas existing ones that include its employees are widely perceived as non-influential. A company spokesperson confirmed the conglomerate is aware of the raid but hasn't elaborated on the matter. The Seoul-based technology juggernaut is presently on an overall rise and is expecting to post over $14 billion in operating income for the first quarter of 2018, as per its Friday guidance.