The final hearing in the appeals trial of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was held at the Seoul High Court on December 27.
There, the vice chairman stressed that he was not interested in having more shares in Samsung Group subsidiaries. According to special prosecutors, the vice chairman was trying to inherit the group by increasing his shares in the subsidiaries including Samsung Electronics and trying to take advantage of his rapport with former President Park Geun-hye to that end. However, the vice chairman stressed that he did not do her a favor for the purpose of inheritance.
Nevertheless, the special prosecutors did not change their sentencing recommendation from 12 years in prison. “The prosecutors failed to come up with any evidence of illegal solicitation in the end, and such a recommendation is beyond my understanding,” said a member of the group. Samsung Electronics’ official response is yet to come.
Those in the business and academic communities are perplexed as well. “This case can be regarded as a political trial and the sentencing recommendation of 12 years does not make any sense to me,” said Myongji University economics professor Jo Dong-keun, continuing, “A conviction in the appeals trial means no acquittal at the Supreme Court.” He went on to say, “Samsung will face a lot of difficulties in the global market once it is labeled as a corrupt company.”