February 22, 2018

S.Korea Prosecutors Recommend 12-Year Sentence for Samsung Heir over Corruption

08 August 2017, 12:50 | Denise Dawson

Prosecutors seek 12 years' jail for Samsung heir

Vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong once said ‘I do not like being the chairman of the Samsung Group for its negative image. I want to be called the chairman of Samsung Electronics.”

Park, who was impeached previous year, and Choi are also in jail and on trial.

If the court finds him guilty and sentenced him to a 12-year jail term, it would be the longest jail term for a South Korean conglomerate executive on record.

"Whether it was for my personal profit or for myself, I have never asked the president for any favors", he told the court.

Lee, 49, is accused of paying tens of billions of dollars in bribes to ensure a smooth power succession as his father, Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, has been hospitalized since a heart attack more than three years ago.

The court is expected to announce its verdict on August 25.

Lee, the third-generation Samsung heir, was brought into custody on February 17 and was indicted 11 days later on five charges of bribery, embezzlement, perjury, hiding assets overseas and concealing the proceeds of criminal acts.

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At the final hearing of his trial on Monday, prosecutors called Lee the "ultimate beneficiary" of crimes committed in the scandal, which sparked massive protests in the country and ultimately led to the impeachment of Park.

Samsung, whose group revenues are equivalent to nearly a fifth of South Korea's GDP, did not comment on the prosecutors' demand.

Park Geun-hye went on trial in May.

The prosecutor also accused Samsung officials of lying in their testimonies to protect Lee. Prosecutors believed that the bribery was offered in exchange for government help with a merger that strengthened Lee's control over Samsung at a crucial time for organizing a smooth leadership transition after his father fell ill.

Samsung's lawyers do not contest having donated a large sum of money to entities controlled by Choi. The National Pension Service (NPS) was then-biggest shareholder of one of the two Samsung units.

He also claimed to have had no role in wider decision-making at Samsung and "mostly listened to other executives".

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