Samsung bribe trial to start

Samsung Group leader Jay Y Lee will go on trial for bribery and embezzlement next Thursday, a court has said, amid a corruption scandal that has rocked South Korea and led to the impeachment of the country’s president.

Mr Lee, the 48-year-old third-generation leader of the country’s top conglomerate, was indicted on Tuesday on charges including pledging 43bn won (€35.2m) in payments to a confidant of President Park Geun-hye.

“We are preparing hard, thinking that the upcoming Samsung trial... could be the trial of the century that the entire world will be watching,” special prosecutor Park Young-soo told reporters.

The Samsung scion’s hearing will be held in a court that can accommodate more than 150 people, according to the Seoul Central District Court’s court database.

Mr Lee, who was arrested on February 17, was charged with bribery and embezzlement in a case that has dealt a blow to the standard bearer for Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

Samsung Group declined to comment but has denied wrongdoing.

Among the charges against Mr Lee are pledging bribes to a company and organisations tied to Park’s confidant, Choi Soon-sil, the woman at the centre of the scandal, to cement his control of the smartphones-to-biopharmaceuticals business empire.

Legislation appointing the special prosecutor states that the trial should be finished in three months.

President Park, the daughter of a former military strongman, has had her powers suspended since her impeachment by parliament in December.

Reuters


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