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Updated February 5th, 2024 at 11:38 IST

Samsung chairman Jay Y. Lee acquitted in 2015 merger case

Lee, who had denied any wrongdoing, argued that he and other executives acted with the belief that the merger would be advantageous for shareholders.

Reported by: Business Desk
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Samsung Electronics Chairman Jay Y. Lee has been declared not guilty by a Seoul court on Monday in a case related to irregularities surrounding a 2015 merger of Samsung affiliates. Prosecutors had previously sought a five-year jail term in November, alleging that the merger was orchestrated to solidify Lee's control over the tech conglomerate.

Lee, who had denied any wrongdoing, argued that he and other executives acted with the belief that the merger would be advantageous for shareholders. The unexpected ruling, while a relief for Lee, may still face potential appeals from prosecutors.

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This verdict spares Lee from a return to jail, he was previously convicted in 2017 for bribing a friend of former President Park Geun-hye. Having served 18 months of a 30-month sentence, Lee was granted a pardon in 2022 by current President Yoon Suk Yeol. The government justified the pardon by citing Lee's crucial role in helping overcome a "national economic crisis."

The case's outcome is likely to draw attention not only for its impact on Samsung's leadership but also for the broader implications on corporate governance and legal proceedings involving high-profile business figures in South Korea. As the news unfolds, the business community awaits potential reactions and further legal developments.

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(With Reuters inputs) 
 

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Published February 5th, 2024 at 11:38 IST

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