Samsung heir’s trial for bribing president starts
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.