Samsung Chairman was acquitted by South Korean court over 2015 merger case

South Korea. Photo Courtesy: Unsplash

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IBNS-CMEDIA: Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong was acquitted on Monday of financial crimes during the merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015, the media reported.

Lee was accused of fraud for engaging in market irregularities during the merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T in order to strengthen the group’s control at a lower cost. Prosecutors suspected the businessman of stock price rigging, breach of trust, and accounting fraud, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

The businessman reportedly resorted to disseminating false market information, buying up the affiliates’ stocks, and illegally lobbying for a deal to reduce the prices of Samsung C&T and increase Cheil Industries’ prices. Lee was the largest shareholder of Cheil Industries with a 23.2% stake, while Samsung C&T was the parent company of the Samsung Group holding company, the news agency reported.

The merger was reportedly seen as critical to Lee’s succession in the family business after his father suffered a heart attack in 2014.

Prosecutors had sought a five-year prison sentence for Lee and a fine of 500 million won ($373,500). The court also acquitted a number of former Samsung employees who were charged in the merger case, Yonhap reported.