No end in sight for Samsung’s legal troubles

LEE JAE-YONG has seen a fair share of prison cells. Samsung’s de facto boss, and grandson of its founder, spent nearly a year behind bars for bribery before his sentence was suspended in February 2018. Then, on June 4th, prosecutors asked a court to have Mr Lee and two other executives from South Korea’s biggest conglomerate arrested ahead of indictments on fresh charges of unfair trading, stock-price manipulation and violating accounting rules, citing concerns that they might destroy evidence.

The judge demurred and declared that Mr Lee could await the start of his latest trial at home, rather than in police custody, arguing that the prosecution had already amassed enough relevant evidence. Although critics spied a certain leniency towards Mr Lee at work in the ruling, it does not mean that his or Samsung’s legal troubles are anywhere near over.

The latest allegations by state prosecutors relate to the role Mr Lee allegedly played in manipulating the terms of a merger between two Samsung affiliates, Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries. The tie-up cemented his control over the group in 2015. (Three executives have already been sentenced to prison for hiding or destroying evidence related to the investigation.) The bribery charges that saw him locked up were also related to the merger. Last year South Korea’s Supreme...



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