Prosecutors Ignore Recommendation to Leave Samsung Chief Alone

      September 02, 2020 12:35

      Lee Jae-yong /Newsis

      Prosecutors on Tuesday indicted Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong for dodgy accounting in his takeover of the conglomerate despite a recommendation by an independent panel to leave him alone.

      The 14-member panel of experts in June advised against indicting Lee again after he applied for a public review of prosecutors' investigation earlier that month.

      The review option was introduced as part of reforms to curb prosecution overreach in 2018 but its decision is not binding.

      The Seoul Central District Public Prosecutors' Office indicted Lee and 11 other Samsung executives including Choi Ji-sung, who headed the conglomerate's secretive former control tower.

      They are accused of cooking the books in the 2015 merger of affiliates Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T to give Lee effective control of the publicly traded conglomerate through its Byzantine holding structure.

      Prosecutors believe Samsung inflated the value of one and underplayed the value of the other with creative accounting practices. But Samsung claims the merger was necessary for business reasons and had nothing to do with finagling the handover of power to Lee from his father Lee Kun-hee, who is in a vegetative state. 

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