Samsung Boss demands chance to drive as prosecutors seek prison time


(Bloomberg) — Samsung Electronics CEO Jay Y. Lee denied any wrongdoing and demanded a chance to lead South Korea’s largest company after prosecutors asked for a five-year prison sentence on charges involving the controversial merger of two Samsung Group units. In 2015.

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At the hearing at the Seoul Central District Court on Friday, prosecutors also asked for Lee to be fined 500 million won ($385,600). The court is scheduled to issue its ruling on January 26, ending a trial that lasted more than three years.

In his final argument late Friday, Li stressed his duty to guide the company founded by his grandfather to the next stage at a time of rising geopolitical risks, rapid supply chain reorganization and technological disruption. He said his responsibilities include preparing for the future while competing and collaborating with global technology giants.

“I will give everything I have to fulfill these responsibilities,” he said in an argument that lasted about 10 minutes. “Please give me a chance to focus on moving forward with all my abilities.”

Lee has been implicated in bribery and corruption investigations dating back to 2017 that centered on the means he used to try to take control of the company. He was imprisoned twice. In August 2022, he received a presidential pardon for his conviction in a separate case, allowing him to officially take over leadership of the company.

In the current trial, prosecutors alleged that the 55-year-old Lee and other executives took a series of illegal steps to engineer the merger of Samsung C&T Corp and Cheil Industries Inc. In 2015, they improperly benefited from the deal.

Lee denied any wrongdoing on Friday, saying he had “no personal interests at all.” He also asked for leniency for the other defendants in the case, former Samsung executives who “devoted their lives to the company.”

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