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Samsung Chief Lee Jae-yong acquitted of economic crimes associated to merger Categorical Occasions

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A South Korean court docket on Monday acquitted Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong of economic crimes involving a contentious merger between Samsung associates in 2015 that tightened his grip over South Korea’s greatest firm.

The ruling by the Seoul Central District Courtroom may ease the authorized troubles surrounding the Samsung inheritor lower than two years after he was pardoned of a separate conviction of bribery in a corruption scandal that toppled a earlier South Korean authorities.

The court docket mentioned the prosecution didn’t sufficiently show the merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries was unlawfully performed with an goal to strengthen Lee’s management over Samsung Electronics.

Prosecutors had sought a five-year jail time period for Lee, who was accused of inventory value manipulation and accounting fraud. It wasn’t instantly clear whether or not they would attraction. Lee had denied wrongdoing within the present case, describing the 2015 merger as regular enterprise exercise.

Lee, 56, didn’t reply questions from reporters as left the court docket. You Jin Kim, Lee’s lawyer, praised the court docket for confirming that the merger was authorized.

Lee, a third-generation company inheritor who was formally appointed because the chairman of Samsung Electronics in October 2022, has led the Samsung group of corporations since 2014, when his late father, former chairman Lee Kun-hee, suffered a coronary heart assault.

Lee Jae-yong served 18 months in jail after being convicted in 2017 over separate bribery prices associated to the 2015 deal. He was initially sentenced for 5 years in jail for providing 8.6 billion received ($6.4 million) value of bribes to then-President Park Geun-hye and her shut confidante to win authorities help for the 2015 merger, which was key to strengthening his management over the Samsung enterprise empire and solidifying the father-to-son management succession.

Lee was launched on parole in 2021 and pardoned by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in August 2022, in strikes that prolonged a historical past of leniency towards main white-collar crime in South Korea and preferential therapy for convicted tycoons.

Some shareholders had opposed the 2015 merger, saying that it unfairly benefited the Lee household whereas hurting minority shareholders. There was additionally public anger over how the nationwide pension fund’s stake in Samsung C&T, the merged entity, fell by an estimated a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, after Park had pressured the Nationwide Pension Service to help the deal.

Park and her confidante had been additionally convicted within the scandal and enraged South Koreans staged large protests for months demanding an finish to the shady ties between enterprise and politics. The demonstrations ultimately led to Park’s ouster from workplace.

Lee has been navigating one in every of his hardest stretches because the chief of one of many world’s largest makers of pc chips and smartphones, with Russia’s warfare on Ukraine and different geopolitical turmoil hurting the world economic system and deflating expertise spending.

The corporate final week reported an annual 34% decline in working revenue for October-December quarter as sluggish calls for for its TVs and different client electronics merchandise offset hard-won features from a slowly revering reminiscence chip market.

(Solely the headline and film of this report could have been reworked by the Enterprise Customary workers; the remainder of the content material is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Revealed: Feb 05 2024 | 12:49 PM IST

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