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March 03, 2024

Prosecutors seek 5-year sentence for Samsung chief over fraud connected to 2015 merger

PUBLISHED : November 19, 2023 - 09:42

UPDATED : November 19, 2023 - 09:42

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Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong enters the Seoul Central District Court in southern Seoul, for a court hearing concerning the controversial 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates on Friday. (Yonhap)

The prosecution on Friday demanded five years in prison for Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong on charges of stock price rigging and accounting fraud connected to the controversial 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates.

Prosecutors also requested a fine of 500 million won ($387,000) for Lee during the final hearing at the Seoul Central District Court.

Lee is charged with stock price rigging, breach of duty and accounting fraud in the course of the controversial 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates, Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T Corp. The trial began in September 2020.

For seeking the prison term, the prosecution cited how Lee denied all charges leveled against him when he was the chief decision-maker, and how benefited from the process.

The prosecution argues that Lee and company executives planned and executed a series of illegal steps in the process of merging the group's construction and fashion companies. The prosecutors allege the illegal processes allowed Lee to increase his control over the conglomerate.

Two senior Samsung executives, including Choi Gee-sung, a former head of Samsung's now-disbanded control tower Future Strategy Office, have also been charged. Prosecutors have asked them to be given prison sentences of 4 1/2 years and a 500 million won fine for related charges.

A ruling is expected in early 2024 at the earliest.

By Jo He-rim  (herim@heraldcorp.com)

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