Detention warrant for Samsung head rejected

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Detention warrant for Samsung head rejected

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong leaves Seoul Detention Center on Tuesday after a court rejected the prosecution's request for a warrant to detain him.  [YONHAP]

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong leaves Seoul Detention Center on Tuesday after a court rejected the prosecution's request for a warrant to detain him. [YONHAP]

A local court on Tuesday struck down a request by the prosecution to detain Samsung leader Lee Jae-yong as a suspect in a probe of a controversial 2015 merger that cemented his control over the conglomerate.
 
The Seoul Central District Court said early Tuesday morning that there were insufficient grounds to put Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and de facto head of the country’s largest business group, behind bars.  
 
Lee and two of his key aides — former senior executives of Samsung’s now-dismantled Future Strategy Office, Choi Gee-sung and Kim Jong-joong — attended a hearing at the court on Monday. The court also rejected the prosecution’s request to detain Choi and Kim.
 
All three are suspects in an ongoing criminal investigation into allegations that a series of legal violations were committed in order to help Lee take control of the conglomerate from his father, Lee Kun-hee, who has been hospitalized since 2014 after a heart attack.
 
They are suspected of violating the Capital Market Act and the Act on External Audit of Stock Companies during the 2015 merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, along with involvement in a case of suspected accounting fraud at a Cheil affiliate Samsung BioLogics, according to the prosecution.  
 
Judge Won Jeong-suk presided over the hearing. After 15 hours and 30 minutes of deliberation, Won ruled around 2 a.m. Tuesday to reject the prosecution’s warrant requests.  
 
Lee and his attorneys argued for eight hours and 30 minutes against the prosecutors’ plan to detain him.
 
After the hearing, Lee waited for Judge Won’s decision at the Seoul Detention Center. The ruling was announced around 2 a.m., and he left the center at 2:43 a.m.
 
BY SER MYO-JA   ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr  
 

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