HomeTechSamsung's Billionaire Boss Acquitted on Fraud Charges Over Tech Merger

Samsung’s Billionaire Boss Acquitted on Fraud Charges Over Tech Merger

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Samsung Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong, also known as Jay Y. Lee, has been acquitted on accounting fraud and stock price manipulation charges in South Korea on Monday over the 2015 merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries.

Lee had previously denied the claims, according to a report from The New York Times.

Prosecutors argued that the merger helped Lee ascend to his top position at the tech giant. Lee had been facing a five-year prison sentence and a 500 million won fine, which is roughly $375,000.

But the court did not find sufficient evidence for the allegations. Lee did not take questions from the media as he left the court building, NPR reported.

Samsung is one of the largest tech companies in the world, producing a wide range of products including Samsung Galaxy phones, Galaxy Book laptops, and Samsung TVs, to name a few.

The South Korean court’s decision comes after years of legal battles over financial crimes related to this Samsung merger. Lee had initially been sentenced in 2017 for offering a bribe to former South Korean President Park Geun-hye and a close associate of Park’s to support the merger. But Lee’s sentence was reduced, and the executive left prison in 2018.

A subsequent 2021 retrial found Lee again sentenced for bribes amounting to 8.6 billion won (roughly $6.45 million), but Lee was released on parole later that year.

Lee had been banned from working at Samsung again for five years, but South Korea’s President, Yoon Suk Yeol, granted Lee a pardon in 2022 on a national holiday in the country.

At time of writing, Bloomberg estimates Lee’s net worth to be roughly $9.9 billion.

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