June 04, 2020 13:22
Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong on Tuesday filed for a public review of the investigation that implicated him in charges of breach of trust and accounting fraud in a complex fiddle to pass control of the sprawling conglomerate to him.
The aim is ostensibly to seek a public assessment of the validity of the indictments he faces but essentially to stall proceedings.
Prosecutors were caught off guard by the request as they were about to apply for an arrest warrant for Lee.
The public review system is designed to evaluate the process and validity of cases that either raised questions or drew a huge amount of public attention. It was introduced as part of prosecutorial reforms in 2018.
A review committee consists of laypeople and legal experts.
Legal observers say the application is a last-ditch attempt after Lee was summoned twice for questioning by prosecutors last month. Prosecutors cannot seek an arrest warrant or indict a suspect while the committee is reviewing the case.
Lee is suspected of financial irregularities in the 2015 merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, which paved the way for him to assume management control through the public traded conglomerate's Byzantine holding structure after his father fell into a coma from a massive heart attack in 2014.
Lee denies knowledge of wrongdoing. A prosecution source said, "Many applications for public review are shot down at the start, so we have to wait and see if this one will get anywhere."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com