Samsung’s ‘Trial of the Century’ Begins
On Thursday, the lawyer of Jay Y. Lee, the head of the Samsung Group in South Korea, said that he denies all charges levied against him. The special prosecutor said that this trial has the makings of the ‘trial of the century’ as it involves a political scandal that can reverberate throughout the country. A number of offences including embezzlement and bribery have been levied against Lee in a corruption scandal that has already brought about President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. Currently Lee has been detained at Seoul Detention Center and he didn’t come to court. It is not a requirement for a defendant to come to a preparatory hearing as the sole purpose is to set the dates for the testimony of witnesses and for organizing evidence.
As far as the next hearing is concerned, the date for it will be finalized in the next week. All charges placed against Lee were denied by his defense. They claimed that the evidence, conversations and witnesses that have been cited in the special prosecutor’s indictment were something that the prosecution hadn’t actually heard, interviewed or investigated according to the rules. The defense said that all of them contain opinions that are not based on facts. Defending Lee, Song Wu-cheol told the court that it remains unclear as to the kind of order that Lee Jae-yong supposedly gave.
As he was leaving the court, Song told reporters that the indictments shouldn’t have statements that can build up prejudices in court. The charges of wrongdoing have been constantly denied by the Samsung Group. The 48-year-old Lee has been charged with pledging bribes to organizations and companies linked to the woman at the center of the corruption scandal, Choi Soon-sil, who is a friend of President Park. The charges state that the bribes were given by Lee for ensuring he remains in control of the biopharmaceuticals to smartphones business-empire.
All charges were denied by lawyers of other defendants being tried with Lee, which include names like former Samsung Electronics President Park Sang-jin, former Samsung Group President Chang Choong-ki and former Samsung Group Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung. The courtroom has a capacity to hold 150 and was fully packed with spectactors and the press, some of whom had been waiting since morning to get a seat. The hearing went on for about an hour and at one point, an elderly woman begin to yell and the court officers had to drag her out. It was impossible to understand what she was saying.
According to the legislation appointing the special prosecutor, there are three months for the lower court trial to finish from the indictment on February 28th. Park Young-soo, the special prosecutor said that they are hard at work for the Samsung trial, which could be one of a kind for this century. The parliament impeached President Park in December and her powers have been suspended since then. If the impeachment is upheld by the Constitutional Court, she would be the first president elected democratically to be removed from office.