SEOUL -- The leader of South Korea’s top conglomerate, Samsung, was acquitted in a merger case of Samsung C&T, a Samsung Group unit involved in trade, and Cheil Industries, the apparel and resort unit. The prosecution has claimed that the group's chairman conducted the 2015 merger for a stable succession of management rights.
The Seoul Central District Court ruled on February 5 that there is no evidence to prove Samsung Chairman Jay Y. Lee's charges. The prosecution has alleged that there were accounting irregularities before and after the 2015 merger of two units. "The case cannot be conclusively affirmed that Lee's only purpose for the merger was to strengthen his control and ensure succession," the court stated.
The court added his action couldn't be considered unfair even if there was a purpose to enhance control as the merger also had reasonable business objectives. The charges against Samsung's Future Strategy Office, alleging misconduct during the merger process, were also not acknowledged. The prosecution claimed that the future strategy division spread false information, concealed crucial information, falsely publicized optimistic prospects, manipulated stock prices, and made false disclosures to hide the disadvantages of Samsung C&T.
In the decision made during the trial in November 2023, the prosecution demanded a 5-year prison sentence and a 500 million won ($375,000) fine for Lee, stating that the case undermined the foundation of the capital market. However, the Samsung chairman said he has never considered his gain through the merger with the merger.
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