Business : Samsung Heir Is Indicted but Avoids Jail Lee Jae-yong stands accused of stock price manipulation

Samsung Heir Is Indicted but Avoids Jail Lee Jae-Yong.



SEOUL, South Korea 

Lee Jae-yong stands accused of stock price manipulation and other offenses as he sought to tighten his control over the major corporate empire.

Lee Jae-yong, the heir to the South Korean tech and industrial giant Samsung, was indicted on Tuesday on charges of engaging in stock price manipulation, unfair trading and other illegal means to tighten his control over the country’s biggest conglomerate.

But prosecutors could not arrest him because the Seoul Central District Court had earlier refused to issue a warrant allowing prosecutors to arrest Mr. Lee, who has been running Samsung since a heart attack incapacitated his father, Lee Kun-hee, in 2014. Samsung has denied the allegations.

Prosecutors may not have a slam-dunk case. The court’s refusal to issue an arrest warrant raised doubts in South Korea about the strength the prosecution’s cause, particularly after a review panel in June recommended against indicting Mr. Lee because of a lack of incriminating evidence. Mr. Lee requested the outside review of the government’s investigation, invoking a regulation prosecutors introduced in 2018 to enhance the neutrality and fairness of their inquiries.

Successive leaders of South Korea, including President Moon Jae-in, have taken office vowing to eradicate corruption at the chaebol, or family-controlled conglomerates, which dominate their country’s economy.

South Korean courts have often proven lenient toward chaebol chiefs​ convicted of white-collar crimes. Mr. Lee’s father was convicted twice of bribery and other corruption charges, but never spent a day in prison. ​

Mr. Lee, commonly known as J.Y. Lee in the West and arguably South Korea’s most influential businessman, previously spent a year on charges that he bribed Park Geun-hye, the impeached and ousted former president of South Korea.

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