South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday sought a 12-year jail term for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee on appeal after a lower court sentenced him to five years in August for bribery in a case that rocked the country.
The Seoul High Court is expected to rule on the case in late January. Lee, the 49-year-old heir to one of the world’s biggest corporate empires, has been detained since February on charges of corruption.
The heir to South Korea’s Samsung Group, convicted of bribing the country’s former President Park Geun-hye, on Wednesday denied allegations of wrongdoing as the appeals trial of his five-year jail term for corruption neared its end.
The lower court in August, as per Reuters, had ruled that while Lee never asked for Park’s help directly, the fact that a 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates did help cement Lee’s control over Samsung Electronics “implied” he was asking for the president’s help to strengthen his control of the firm.
His lawyers have strongly challenged this logic since appeals hearings began in October.
“The defendants have not once tried to solve issues by colluding with political power and gaining its help. The special prosecution has severely distorted the truth, and that distortion is reflected in the jail term they sought,” said Lee In-jae, Lee’s lawyer, responding to the 12-year jail term demand. Mr. In-jae was quoted on Reuters.
Answering a prosecutor’s question about his future as Samsung heir, Lee said: “I had been privately thinking that chairman, my father, Lee Kun Hee will be the final person to have the title of Samsung Group chairman.” Mr. Lee was quoted on Reuters.
“I have often said that I want to be a businessman who is recognized for capability, not just for being someone’s son, or for having a lot of shares,” he added.