The South Korean special prosecutor is calling it “the trial of the century”. Samsung Group’s vice chairman Jay Y Lee’s trial for bribery, embezzlement, and corruption began yesterday with the defence denying all charges. Lee himself was not present at the hearing.
Samsung’s de facto leader, Lee, was dragged into the presidential scandal after investigators accused him of making campaign donations in exchange for political favours. He also stands accused of using company funds for the same reason.
At the centre of the issue was the merger between Samsung C&T Corp and Cheil Industries. The government, who was a shareholder in Cheil industries, voted against its own interests by allowing the two companies to merge. The merger also allowed the Lee family to solidify its hold on the Samsung group.
Lee is not the only Samsung executive standing trial. Three others, who have since resigned their positions, have also been indicted on charges of bribery and embezzlement. All three have also denied all charged levied against them.