Samsung chief's bribery trial to start next week

SEOUL • Samsung Group leader Lee Jae Yong will go on trial for bribery and embezzlement next Thursday, a court said, amid a corruption scandal that has rocked South Korea and led to the impeachment of the President.

Lee, the 48-year-old third-generation leader of the country's top conglomerate, was indicted on Tuesday on charges including pledging 43 billion won (S$52.6 million) in payments to a confidante of President Park Geun Hye.

"We are preparing hard, thinking that the upcoming Samsung trial... could be the trial of the century that the entire world will be watching," special prosecutor Park Young Soo told reporters.

Lee, who was arrested on Feb 17, was charged with bribery and embezzlement in a case that has dealt a heavy blow to the standard bearer for Asia's fourth-largest economy.

The Samsung Group declined to comment but has denied wrongdoing. Among the charges against Lee are pledging bribes to a company and organisations tied to Ms Park's confidante, Choi Soon Sil, to cement his control of the Samsung empire.

President Park, 65, has had her powers suspended since her impeachment by Parliament in December last year.

The Constitutional Court is expected to decide this month whether or not to uphold the impeachment.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2017, with the headline 'Samsung chief's bribery trial to start next week'. Print Edition | Subscribe