Business

Prosecutors seek 12-year jail for Samsung heir

SEOUL: South Korean prosecutors yesterday demanded that the heir to the Samsung empire be jailed 12 years over his role in the corruption scandal that brought down the country's last president.

At the final hearing in the trial of Lee Jae Yong, the vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics, prosecutors called him the "ultimate beneficiary" of crimes committed in the scandal, which culminated in the impeachment and dismissal of president Park Geun Hye.

The 12-year term would be among the harshest penalties ever passed on a top executive of a chaebol, the business groups that dominate Asia's fourth-largest economy.

Lee and four other executives of Samsung - the world's biggest smartphone maker and the country's largest firm - are accused of bribing Park's powerful confidante with millions of dollars to win presidential favours and ease a controversial 2015 merger deal.

"The defendants were closely tied to power and sought personal gains," prosecutors said.

Lee, 49, also faces charges of embezzlement and hiding assets overseas.

He told the court that during his six months in custody, he has realised his "many shortcomings" as a business leader.

However, he denies any wrongdoing.

He has been at the helm of Samsung since his father was left bedridden by a heart attack in 2014.

A verdict is expected on Aug 25. - AFP

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