Li Dze Jong, also known as Jay Y. Lee, is the heir and de facto chairman of the Samsung Group. On Monday, a South Korean court acquitted him of accounting fraud and stock manipulation related to the merger of Samsung subsidiaries in 2015.
The Seoul Central District Court acquitted Lee nearly three and a half years after he was accused of engaging in market irregularities in the Cheil Industries Inc. merger. With Samsung C&T
The case concerns alleged accounting fraud
The case involves a controversial 2015 merger and alleged accounting fraud in an offer to help with succession plans. Cheil Industries bought C&T, Samsung's trading and construction subsidiary, a move opposed by C&T shareholders. According to the US investment fund Elliott, the company was undervalued, which was to the detriment of shareholders. Before the merger, the Lee family and related entities controlled Cheil, but not Samsung C&T, which was the majority shareholder of Samsung Electronics, known as the crown jewel of the Samsung Group, Reuters explains.
Thirty months imprisonment on charges of paying bribes
In November 2023, South Korean prosecutors demanded a five-year prison term for Lee and a fine of 500 million won (PLN 1.5 million). The businessman claims he did not break the law, arguing that he and other management members acted on the belief that the merger would benefit shareholders and help “focus all resources on developing the company.” The grandson of Samsung's founder was previously sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of paying bribes in exchange for serving the then South Korean president. Park Geun Hye, hiding assets abroad, embezzlement and perjury. He was pardoned by President Jeon Suk-gyul in 2022 due to the South Korean government. He estimated that the businessman is essential to help revive the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Main image source: Seung-jun Cho/Bloomberg/Getty Images
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