Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Mastermind or Naïf? Samsung Heir's Fate Hinges on the Question, Former CEO of Brazil's Petrobras charged with corruption, Exxon Misled the Public on Climate Change Study Says

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team

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Mastermind or Naïf? Samsung Heir’s Fate Hinges on the Question

He controls one of the world’s largest corporate empires. He has been cast as a globe-trotting, entrepreneurial reformer who has cut deals with the likes of Steve Jobs and Larry Page. He has also been cast as a detached leader with little knowledge of the inner workings of his own companies.

Now the fate of Lee Jae-yong, heir to the Samsung empire, hinges on which narrative a judge believes.

Mr. Lee, Samsung’s de facto leader and the third generation of his family to run the sprawling conglomerate, on Friday faces a verdict in a blockbuster bribery trial. The accusations, which have already sparked the impeachment of South Korea’s former president, have shaken the economic foundations of a country long seen as one of the world’s most successful growth stories. Prosecutors suggest that Mr. Lee be sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Mr. Lee and his attorneys say that he is innocent — and that he did not know enough about Samsung or South Korean politics to commit the crimes he is accused of. While Mr. Lee guides strategy and hammers out global alliances, he has little involvement in day-to-day operations, according to Samsung. read more » 

Former CEO of Brazil's Petrobras charged with corruption

Brazilian prosecutors on Tuesday charged the former chief executive officer of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro with corruption, alleging he used his position to take bribes from construction firm Odebrecht.

Aldemir Bendine served as CEO of Petrobras, as the company is known, between 2015 and 2016, and was brought in to clean up the firm after its central role in Brazil's massive political graft scandal. Bendine, who also led state-owned lender Banco do Brasil SA from 2009 to 2015. read more » 

Exxon Misled the Public on Climate Change Study Says

As Exxon Mobil responded to news reports in 2015 that said that the company had spread doubt about the risks of climate change despite its own extensive research in the field, it urged the public to “read the documents” for themselves.

Now two Harvard researchers have done just that, reviewing nearly 200 documents representing Exxon’s research and its public statements and concluding that the company “misled the public” about climate change even as its own scientists were recognizing greenhouse gas emissions as a risk to the planet.

The Harvard researchers — Naomi Oreskes, a professor of the history of science whose work has focused on the energy and tobacco industries, and Geoffrey Supran, a postdoctoral fellow — published their peer-reviewed paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters on Wednesday. They also published their findings in an Opinion article in Wednesday’s New York Times. read more » 

American Express to pay $96 million over discriminatory card terms

American Express (AXP.N) will end up paying $96 million to credit card customers in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories for charging higher interest rates and engaging in other discriminatory practices, federal regulators said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that more than 200,000 consumers at two of the company's banking subsidiaries had been harmed by the practices, which also included stricter credit cutoffs and less debt forgiveness than offered to customers in U.S. states. read more »