South Korean court denies prosecutors’ arrest warrant request for Samsung heir Jay Lee

Lee served almost a year in prison in between 2017 and 2018 after he was charged with bribing former President Park Geun-hye to secure assistance for the merger. The scandal ultimately resulted in Parks impeachment in 2017 and a 25-year jail term for bribery, abuse of power and embezzlement.

A South Korean court rejected an arrest warrant request for Samsung Group beneficiary evident Jay Y. Lee, saying that although district attorneys protected “a significant quantity of evidence,” it was still insufficient to apprehend Lee. Prosecutors applied for the warrant last week, implicating Lee of accounting scams and stock adjustment.

District attorneys allege that the value of electronic devices products service provider Cheil Industries was artificially inflated prior to its 2015 merger with Samsung C&T, Samsungs de facto holding business, to develop a more favorable rate for Lee, who was then the largest shareholder in Cheil.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, Seoul Central District Court stated in a statement, “It appears that district attorneys have actually protected a substantial quantity of proof through their examination, but they fell short of discussing the credibility to detain Lee.”

Prosecutors said the investigation would continue and they may use again for an arrest warrant, or bring Lee to trial without an arrest. Lees attorneys stated they want the case to be reviewed by an outside panel to decide if an indictment is warranted.

In a declaration emailed to TechCrunch, a Samsung spokesperson stated, “Samsung rejects that Mr. Lee was or ordered involved in any illegal activities, consisting of claims of illegal deals and stock adjustment. A 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates followed related rules and regulations. Accounting changes at Samsung Biologics likewise abided by worldwide accounting requirements and policies.”