Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Group’s Vice President, isn’t entirely out of the corruption scandal yet. He had issued a historic apology last month and vowed to end the royal family line in the business. A few days later, allegations against him cropped up, relating to his involvement in the controversial merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries. Samsung Group had to step in to deny those allegations.
Today, Lee Jae-yong arrived at a court in South Korea and is awaiting the court’s decision in the case. The court will decide if he will go back to jail after more than two years of freedom. Prosecutors had asked the court last week to issue a warrant against Lee to culminate a probe into accounting fraud and the controversial 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates. It is being alleged that the merger helped Lee Jae-yong plans to have greater control over Samsung Group.
Samsung Group denied Lee’s involvement in alleged stock manipulation. The company said that it is “beyond common sense” to think that Lee was involved in the decision-making process. Samsung Group mentioned in its statement over the weekend that the lengthy probe is weighing on the management during the COVID-19 crisis and the ongoing trade tensions between China and the US, adding to the uncertainties.
Samsung’s heir apparent appeared at a court in Seoul, South Korea, earlier today in a dark suit and wearing a face mask. He did not answer questions from the media and reporters. He is expected to head to a detention center after the court’s hearing. The judge’s decision is expected to arrive later today or early tomorrow.
Lee Jae-yong served one year in jail in a bribery scandal. He was accused of giving horses as gifts to win support from former President Park Geun-hye’s government for the merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T. The merger increased Lee’s control over Samsung Group, which includes Samsung Electronics. The company’s chairman, Lee Kun-hee, has been ailing for a few years now, and it is a critical time for Samsung.
Update: The arrest warrant for Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong was later rejected by the Seoul court, reported the Korean media. The request for Lee’s arrest was rejected by the Seoul Central District Court on account of insufficient probable cause.