Samsung Group chief denies all charges as 'trial of the century' begins

Thu Mar 9, 2017 3:20am EST
 
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By Suyeong Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) - The head of South Korea's Samsung Group, Jay Y. Lee, denies all charges against him, his lawyer said on Thursday, at the start of what the special prosecutor said could be the "trial of the century" amid a political scandal that has rocked the country.

Lee has been charged with bribery, embezzlement and other offences in a corruption scandal that has already led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

Lee, who is being detained at Seoul Detention Centre, did not attend court. A defendant does not have to turn up during a preparatory hearing, held to organize evidence and set dates for witness testimony.

The date of the next hearing will be decided next week.

Lee's defense denied all charges against him on his behalf, saying that the special prosecution's indictment cites conversations, evidence or witnesses the prosecution did not actually hear, investigate or interview according to the rules - or states opinions that are not facts.

"It is unclear what kind of order Lee Jae-yong is supposed to have given," Song Wu-cheol, defending Lee, told the court, using his Korean name.

"The indictment cannot have statements that can create prejudices in the court about the case," Song told reporters as he left court.

The Samsung Group has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.   Continued...

 
Samsung Group chief, Jay Y. Lee arrives at the office of the independent counsel team in Seoul, South Korea, February 19, 2017.  REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji