Seoul, Oct 21 (efe-epa).- The heir to the Samsung empire, Lee Jae-yong, denied Thursday the charges against him at the start of the trial for accounting fraud and price manipulation of stock assets allegedly committed by the businessman during the controversial merger of two group companies in 2015.
Lee’s lawyers denied all charges before the Seoul Central District court handling the case, Yonhap news agency reported.
Several irregularities are attributed to that 2015 merger, including an alleged accounting fraud crime aimed at consolidating Lee’s leadership shortly after his father, group president Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack from which he is yet to recover.
Lee and a dozen executives are accused of manipulating the price of stock assets, violating the law on external audits and carrying out unfair business practices.
Investigators believe the value of Cheil Industries, one of the two group companies that merged and of which Lee was the majority shareholder, was artificially inflated, and the opposite was done with the other company involved, Samsung C&T.
It is also believed the value of Samsung Bioepis, a joint venture between US-based Biogen and Samsung Biologics, inflated by about 4.5 trillion won ($3.96 million) is in turn a subsidiary of Cheil.
Lee is also awaiting a retrial for his involvement in the so-called corruption scheme of the South Korean “Rasputin,” which ended with the removal and imprisonment of former President Park Geun-hye.
The South Korean Supreme court ordered last year to repeat the process – for which Lee originally spent a year in jail until his sentence was reviewed and reduced – for a formal defect and the trial is expected to resume in the next few days. EFE-EPA