World and Nation

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Samsung’s Former Lawyer Says He Bribed Korean Officials

A widening corruption scandal at Samsung engulfed the government of South Korea on Monday as President Roh Moo-hyun’s next chief prosecutor and his top anti-corruption agent faced accusations of accepting bribes from the conglomerate.

The accusations from Samsung’s former chief lawyer, Kim Yong-chul, are a further blow to Roh, who in his final months in office has faced a slew of bribery scandals, some involving his top aides. The departing president had proudly proclaimed a more corruption-free government as one of his major achievements.

Kim, who worked as Samsung’s chief in-house lawyer for seven years until 2004, has claimed over the past two weeks that Samsung runs a vast bribery network that encompasses the government, the judiciary and the news media, and that he himself bribed prosecutors on behalf of Samsung and its chairman, Lee Kun-hee.

Until now Kim had not revealed any of the recipients of the bribes, but at a news conference on Monday Catholic priests who have been serving as spokesmen for Kim accused three individuals with oversight of corruption cases: Lim Chae-jin, who was appointed prosecutor general last month by Roh; Lee Jong-baek, a former prosecutor whom Roh appointed in August to head the Korea Independent Commission Against Corruption; and Lee Gui-nam, director of the Central Investigation Bureau, a powerful branch of prosecution that investigates corruption charges against politicians and big businesses.

“They should be taken as a symbol of a government agency tainted by bribery,” said the Catholic Priests Association for Justice, an influential religious group. The priests said that the three senior prosecutors received bribes regularly from Samsung.

Khmer Rouge Leaders, Husband and Wife, Arrested

Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith, a husband-and-wife team of French-educated Communist revolutionaries who went on to take senior positions in the Khmer Rouge government in Cambodia in the 1970s, were arrested in Phnom Penh on Monday and charged with crimes against humanity.

Ieng Sary, a onetime history and geography teacher who became the Khmer Rouge foreign minister and deputy prime minister, was also charged with war crimes.

The two were arrested at their Phnom Penh home, where they had lived for the past decade under a government amnesty granted to Ieng Sary in 1996. That agreement may complicate his prosecution.

The charges were brought by a special court that was created with assistance from the United Nations to bring the Khmer Rouge leadership to justice. During its time in power, the Khmer Rouge was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians.

With the arrests Monday, the court has so far charged and detained a total of four people. It is expected to arrest a fifth, and last, former member of the leadership soon.

After a decade of preparation and delay, the first trials against the aging former leaders are likely to begin next year, said Helen Jarvis, a spokeswoman for the court.

Australian Judge Dismisses Terrorism Case

A judge in Australia dismissed a case against a terrorism suspect, Izhar ul-Haque, on Monday, and accused the Australian Security Intelligence Organization of false imprisonment and kidnapping.

Ul-Haque, a student, had been accused of attending a terrorist training camp run by the Army of the Pure, a militant group in Pakistan, in early 2003. He was detained by officers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization as he was returning home from his university one evening in November 2003.

The judge, Michael Adams, said that although the officers had only a search warrant, they bundled ul-Haque into a car and drove him to a park, where they threatened him with serious consequences unless he cooperated.

He was then taken home and held in a bedroom until after midnight before being interrogated and finally released. “This is reminiscent of Kafka,” Adams said Monday in the New South Wales state Supreme Court in Sydney. “It was a gross interference by the agents of the state with the accused’s legal rights as a citizen, rights he still has whether he be suspected of criminal conduct or not and whether he is Muslim or not.”

Adams went on to accuse intelligence agents, identified only as B15 and B16, of breaking the law. “I am satisfied that B15 and B16 committed the criminal offenses of false imprisonment and kidnapping,” he said.

IBM Offers $4.9 Billion for Cognos

IBM offered about $4.9 billion in cash on Monday to acquire Cognos, a Canadian producer of software used by corporations to analyze their operations.

The friendly bid comes a month after SAP said it would spend $6.8 billion to buy Business Objects, a Paris-based company that is the chief rival of Cognos in the business intelligence software business.

Shares of Cognos, which is based in Ottawa, have risen recently because of takeover speculation. IBM’s bid, which must be approved by Cognos’ shareholders, offers a 9.5 percent premium to the company’s closing price on Friday.

While SAP intends to keep Business Objects as a stand-alone unit, IBM said in a statement that Cognos would be incorporated into its operations.

“IBM has been providing Business Intelligence solutions for decades,” Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive of I.B.M.’s software group said in a statement. “We chose Cognos because of its industry-leading technology.”