Prosecutors Seek 12-Year Jail Sentence for Billionaire Samsung Heir

Prosecutors Seek 12-Year Jail Sentence for Billionaire Samsung Heir

Prosecutors Seek 12-Year Jail Sentence for Billionaire Samsung Heir

South Korean prosecutors asked a Seoul court on Monday to sentence Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to 12 years in prison over corruption charges.

The princeling of South Korea's richest family was charged with paying, or promising to pay, about 43.3 billion won (38.4 million USA dollars) in bribes to ousted President Park Geun-hye and her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, who was at the center of the influence-peddling scandal.

Lee, 49, has been in detention since February, and on trial for charges including bribery and embezzlement as part of a scandal that led to Park's ouster. She could face life in prison.

Lee became heir to the tech giant after his father and Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee withdrew from business after suffering from a heart attack in 2014.

In the hearing, prosecutors will present their demands for Lee's punishment, while the lawyers and their defendants will give their closing arguments.

The court said it will announce its verdict on the case on August 25. It was Park Snr who oversaw South Korea's growth - when he seized control, North Korea was the more formidable economic power.

Park Geun-hye went on trial in May.

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

Lee allegedly offered $38m (£29m) in bribes to four entities controlled by Choi, to whom Park often turned for advice on policy, such as the security threat from North Korea. But it eventually went through after the national pension fund - a major Samsung shareholder - approved it. "Even though Lee is the ultimate receiver of the gains (from this bribery case), he has been pushing the responsibility to others accused", one of the team of special prosecutors told the court.

He also claimed to have had no role in wider decision-making at Samsung and "mostly listened to other executives".

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