Crime & Justice

Prosecutor requests 5 years in prison for Samsung president over fraud

Seoul, Nov 17 (EFE).- South Korean prosecutors requested five years in prison Friday for Samsung Electronics Executive President Lee Jae-yong for accounting fraud and stock market asset price manipulation allegedly committed during the controversial 2015 merger of two companies of the business group he heads.

Prosecutors also sought a fine of about KRW500 million (about $385,000) in the final hearing of the trial held before a Seoul Central District court.

Investigators believe the value of Cheil Industries, one of the two companies in the group that merged and in which Lee was the majority shareholder, was artificially inflated, and the opposite was done with the other company involved, Samsung C&T.

Prosecutors have concluded that the alleged devaluation of Samsung C&T resulted in losses for other investors and that Lee was behind the alleged irregularities.

The merger was considered crucial at the time to cement Lee’s succession as heir to the family-controlled Samsung group, since his father Lee Kun-hee had suffered a heart attack a year earlier that kept him incapacitated until his death in 2020.

Lee is also accused of being involved in the scheme to inflate the value of Samsung Bioepis, a joint venture between the American Biogen and Samsung Biologics, itself a subsidiary of Cheil.

Lee has already spent more than two and a half years in prison for his role in the corruption plot that led to the dismissal of former South Korean president Park Geun-hye in 2017, and was released in 2021 thanks to a government amnesty that argued the existence of a “national interest,” since Samsung is the largest business group in South Korea.

It is expected that the court will be able to rule on this case related to the manipulation of stock market assets – which opened in 2020 – early next year. EFE


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