Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Prosecution brings additional Samsung bribery charges against Lee Myung-bak

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Some 5 billion won ($4.2 million) could be added to the total amount of bribes former President Lee Myung-bak is alleged to have taken from Samsung Group, according to prosecutors Wednesday.

The Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission sent evidence of Lee’s additional bribery charges to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation department at the end of May, the prosecutors said.

The prosecutors submitted a memo Monday asking the court for additional hearings, as the final trial was originally set to take place next week, after two appeals trials on Wednesday and Friday.

The prosecutors say they are looking into the recently raised suspicions of an alternate route through which Samsung supplied litigation expenses to Lee from 2007 to 2011, allegedly through a Washington-based law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

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If the newfound charges are included, the bribes Lee received from Samsung could total 11 billion won, up from 6.18 billion won that the court in October last year found he accepted from Samsung during his presidency.

During Wednesday’s proceedings, Lee’s attorney protested against details of added suspicions being made public, calling it “a violation of the principle of presumption of innocence.”

The attorney also argued that the evidence prosecution appended to the memo could render “a prejudgment of guilt” prior to the official examination of evidence. The court returned the evidence documents to the prosecution in view of the claim.

The court said it will hear details of the additional charges and the defense’s contention about them Friday. The June 17 final trial date was canceled in light of the additional hearings.

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Lee faces several charges including embezzlement, bribery and tax evasion.

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