Sam­sung heir’s trial for brib­ing pres­i­dent starts

Millennium Post - - BUSINESS -

SEOUL: Sam­sung heir Lee Jae-yong was back in court on Thurs­day to ap­peal his fiveyear sen­tence for brib­ing South Korea's ousted pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye, with pros­e­cu­tors ar­gu­ing for a longer jail term.

Lee, vice-chair­man of Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics, was found guilty in Au­gust of bribery, per­jury and other charges re­lat­ing to pay­ments made by Sam­sung to Park's se­cret con­fi­dante Choi Soon-sil, but the 49-year-old's lawyers ar­gue he is in­no­cent.

"The ev­i­dence-only prin­ci­ple was pushed aside," lead coun­sel, lawyer Lee In-jae, said at the ap­peal trial at the Seoul High Court.

The orig­i­nal ver­dict found that a to­tal of 8.9 bil­lion won ($7.9 mil­lion) was paid in re­turn for favours in­clud­ing govern­ment sup­port for Lee's suc­ces­sion at Sam­sung af­ter his fa­ther was left bedrid­den by a heart at­tack in 2014.

Wear­ing a dark suit and white shirt with no tie, Lee looked gloomy in the court­room as his lawyers ar­gued that the pay­ments were not bribes but do­na­tions to sup­port ath­letes – which hap­pened to in­clude Choi's eques­trian daugh­ter.

Lawyer Lee In-jae said there was no ma­te­rial ev­i­dence to back charges that Lee asked for pol­icy favours when he met Park in 2014.

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