Samsung dismisses bribery probe jitters

A bribery scandal engulfing the Samsung Group conglomerate is no major cause for concern, a Samsung Electronics official quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

'We are unfazed by all this,' Chu Woo-sik, head of investor relations at Samsung Electronics, said at forum of investors and analysts, assuring them that the scandal was 'nothing to worry about' and that 'truth will prevail.'

The Associated Press report said prosecutors this month launched a probe into allegations that Samsung Group officials kept a slush fund and bribed prosecutors, judges and lawmakers.

The report said President Roh Moo-hyun has approved the establishment of an independent counsel to look into the allegations made by former Samsung lawyer Kim Yong-chul.

Samsung, a massive conglomerate of nearly 60 companies, has consistently denied the allegations, the report said.

Chu, however, did appear to concede that the scandal was having some negative impact on the company's image, calling 'worrisome' that the 'whole environment is so unstable in terms of how we would operate in the future.'

But he said that Samsung would do 'whatever is needed to raise the competitiveness of this company.'

Kim, a lawyer who worked at Samsung Group from 1997-2004, this week added details to his claims, saying the alleged slush fund totaled $215 million, the report said.