SEOUL The third-era chief of South Korea’s leading conglomerate was primarily silent at his initial court docket visual appearance in what has been named the “demo of the century,” as his attorneys labored to portray him as an harmless bystander in a graft scandal.
Jay Y. Lee, the forty eight-calendar year-aged boss of Samsung Group [SAGR.UL], is on demo on charges which include bribery and embezzlement in a scandal that led to the ouster of President Park Geun-hye.
He could spend much more than twenty years in jail if convicted on all charges, which include one particular that he pledged forty three billion gained in bribes to foundations backed by Park and her confidant, Choi Quickly-sil.
“The defendant, Jay Y. Lee, did not even know that the contribution was designed, for the reason that which is not section of his task,” his lawyer, Music Wu-cheol, advised the court docket.
Lee had basically relayed the reviews from one particular-on-one particular conferences with Park to his leading lieutenant, Choi Gee-sung, he additional.
Choi, a previous Samsung Group vice chairman considered a mentor to Jay Y. Lee, remaining the conglomerate on March 1 after it dismantled its company tactic place of work – a nerve middle prolonged considered an instrument for the founding Lee family’s administration of the providers.
Clad in white shirt and grey go well with, Lee, himself the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), was primarily expressionless. He nodded when one particular of his attorneys reiterated his prior denials of obtaining compensated bribes.
Beyond confirming particular facts these as his title and profession, Lee remained silent when the decide questioned if he had just about anything to say in reaction to the charges he faces.
Lee’s attorneys mentioned the Samsung boss designed financial payments in reaction to requests by then-President Park and sought no favors in return.
The chief of the smartphones-to-biopharmaceuticals small business empire is the only founding household member among the the country’s most highly effective conglomerates, named chaebol, to be indicted in a graft scandal that led to Park starting to be South Korea’s initial democratically elected chief to be removed from place of work.
Park herself was arrested very last 7 days on charges these as colluding with Choi to force firms these as Samsung to contribute to foundations that backed her administration’s policy initiatives.
But the exclusive prosecution states Samsung’s Lee actively curried Park’s favor to cement his command of the household small business empire.
“We have secured plenty of proof proving that defendant Lee Jae-yong designed incorrect requests to the president,” mentioned Park Youthful-soo, the exclusive prosecutor, referring to the Samsung chief by his Korean title.
Lee sought Park’s aid in maximizing his command of the Samsung providers at the lowest possible charge, he additional.
– For graphic on ‘The Parks and the Chois’ click: tmsnrt.rs/2fhXSDf
(Reporting by Joyce Lee Composing by Se Youthful Lee Enhancing by Clarence Fernandez)