South Korea to Start Samsung Heir Lee’s Bribery Trial

A bribery trial involving the heir of South Korea’s Samsung Group will start on Friday after the country’s top court ruled earlier this year that the case should be reviewed by a lower court, raising the possibility of a tougher sentence, Reuters informed.

The Supreme Court overturned in August part of an appeals court bribery conviction against Samsung’s de facto chief Jay Y. Lee, who had been given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for seeking favor from South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye.

The court said the interpretation by the Seoul High Court on what constituted bribes by Samsung to Park was too narrow.

“The Seoul High Court is unlikely to make a decision within this year, because prosecutors and his lawyers are fighting harder in this round,” said Jun Ji-hyun, a lawyer who is not involved in the case.

Lee, 51, is expected to attend Friday’s hearing, which is required by law for defendants in criminal cases, according to legal experts.

The case against Lee centered on whether three horses donated by Samsung should be considered bribes aimed at winning Park’s favor in the conglomerate’s succession planning. The horses were given to the daughter of Park’s confidante, Choi Seo-won, a professional equestrian.

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