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South Korean Prosecutors Indict Samsung Heir Lee Jae-Yong Over 2015 Merger

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Seoul: South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday, indicted Samsung Group vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong, professionally known in the West as Jay Y. Lee, on allegations of accounting fraud and stock price manipulation related to a 2015 merger, dealing with Asia’s one of the most valuable companies.
Attorneys of the 52-year-old denied the charges, which were also filed against 10 other former and interim executives of Samsung, describing them as “investigators’ one-sided claims.” They said that a controversial merger in 2015, between the two Samsung affiliates, that helped Lee to assume greater control over the group’s crown jewel, Samsung Electronics was “normal business activity.”
The Seoul Central District Court earlier, rejected the plea of prosecutors to arrest Lee, who has been running Samsung since 2014 after his father suffered a heart attack.
According to a senior official from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, the charges against Lee and the other Samsung officials include stock price manipulation, breach of trust and auditing violations related to the 2015 merger between Samsung C&T Corp. and Cheil Industries.
In 2017, Lee was sentenced to five years for offering 8.6 billion ($7 million) won in bribes to former South Korean President Park Geun-hye and one of her longtime advisers while seeking government assistance for the 2015 merger.
Park is currently serving a decade-long prison term after being convicted of bribery, abuse of power and other corruption charges.
In February 2018, Lee was freed after the Seoul High Court reduced his term to two-and-a-half-year and suspended his sentence, overturning key convictions.
As per the prosecutors, Lee and other officials of the industrial giant caused damage to shareholders of Samsung C&T. Also, the executives of the company, through accounting fraud, inflated the value of Samsung Biologics.
Lee’s lawyers said that the prosecutors have failed to provide accurate evidence to support the charges.

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