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South Korea: Samsung heir denies involvement in key merger in graft trial

 |  August 2, 2017

Jailed Samsung Group scion Lee Jae-yong denied his involvement in the merger of two group units in his first court interrogation on corruption charges in connection with a scandal that removed President Park Geun-hye from office early this year.

Lee was arrested on February 17 on charges of giving and pledging some 43 billion South Korean won (US$38.2 million) to two foundations controlled by Park’s longtime friend Choi Soon-sil in exchange for government backing on the merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries Inc in 2015, Yonhap news agency reported.

The prosecution accuses Lee of soliciting a favor from the former President to pull off the merger to cement his control in the conglomerate. The state-funded National Pension Service, which owns a major stake in Samsung C&T, was seen as holding the casting vote.

The 49-year-old Samsung Electronics Co vice-chairman made his first testimony during the 50th session of his trial that began in April.

Lee denied that he was ever in a position to make management decisions, since he never belonged to the now-disbanded Future Strategy Office.

Full Content: Korea Herald

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