Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Jae-yong has been embroiled in several legal issues over the past decade, and he was sent to jail twice. However, he was pardoned and released from jail before the end of his jail term. Now, he is facing the same old charges once again, and this time, the prosecution has sought a five-year prison time for Lee.
Samsung's Lee Jae-yong faces prosecution again a year after getting pardoned
Earlier today, the state prosecution demanded a five-year jail term for Samsung boss Lee Jae-yong in connection to the controversial merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T. Lee was apparently involved in stock price manipulation and accounting fraud. He is also charged with breach of duty during the merger. Back in 2015, three shares of Samsung C&T were offered for one share of Cheil Industries, and the merger of these companies allowed Lee Jae-yong to have a 23.2% share in Cheil Industries. This, in turn, offered him a tighter grip over Samsung Electronics, the pioneer brand under the Samsung Group.
After Lee Kun-hee (Lee Jae-yong's father and then chairman of Samsung Electronics) fell ill due to a heart attack, the merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T offered Lee Jae-yong a tighter grip and chairmanship claim for Samsung Electronics. Prosecutors claim that the devaluation of Samsung C&T shares resulted in the loss of other shareholders, and Lee was behind stock price manipulation. Lee is also suspected of accounting fraud in Samsung BioLogics, a subsidiary of Cheil Industries. The prosecutor claimed that Lee was in a position of power and the ultimate benefactor of this deal.
It is reported that the prosecution has also demanded a fine of KRW 500 million ($384,000) and a jail sentence of 4.5 years from two other people, including Choi Gee-sung, who was the head of the Future Strategy Office, which is now disbanded. A ruling in this case is expected to arrive in early 2024.