Sunday 18 March 2018

Samsung chief's tears over 12-year sentence call

Jay Y Lee apologised in court
Jay Y Lee apologised in court

Joyce Lee and Christine Kim

Samsung vice chairman Jay Y Lee fought back tears and denied wrongdoing yesterday as prosecutors sought a 12-year jail term on charges that include allegedly bribing the former Korean president to help cement control of the South Korean tech giant.

Mr Lee, the de facto leader of one of Asia's largest conglomerates, has been in detention since February on trial for charges ranging from embezzlement to perjury, in a scandal that gripped the country for months and led to the ousting of former president Park Geun-hye.

He will face the longest prison term on record for a South Korean conglomerate executive if the court finds him guilty when it makes a ruling on August 25.

Other charges he faces include wrongfully transferring assets overseas and hiding the proceeds of a crime.

"I have never asked anyone, including the president, for anything for the company or my personal gain," said Lee in a final statement, his voice wavering.

He stopped several times during his speech, holding back tears.

"I deeply regret that I have given such disappointment and apologise," he said.

Samsung didn't comment on the prosecutors' demand.

The company's shares ended down 0.3pc on Monday, erasing minimal gains seen early in the session.

In Mr Lee's absence, Samsung reported record quarterly earnings in late July.

Samsung investors have said their chief interest in the trial has been how long Mr Lee will stay in detention, sidelined from fully participating in large-scale decision-making.

"It (Samsung) is doing well now, but will his absence show up in its performance two, three, five years from now? That's the question," said Park Jung-hoon, fund manager at HDC Asset Management. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business