Jailed Samsung chief can get plenty of visitors, may still play a corporate role

Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:52am EDT
 
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By Se Young Lee and Jane Chung

SEOUL (Reuters) - The head of South Korea's Samsung Group [SAGR.UL], Jay Y. Lee, may be languishing in a jail cell but he is allowed plenty of visitors, which may allow him to play a key role in corporate decisions even if he isn't running the conglomerate like he did before.

Lee, who didn't attend last Thursday's preparatory hearing for his trial on bribery, embezzlement and other charges, is kept well away from other inmates at the Seoul Detention Centre.

Some, such as top former presidential advisors, are also defendants in the corruption scandal that led to the removal from office of South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Friday.

Under South Korean regulations, though, Lee can meet any of his battery of attorneys without time limits and as often as he wants during business hours from Monday to Saturday.

One of those lawyers told the first day of what special prosecutors described as potentially "the trial of the century" that Lee denies all charges against him.

Lee, like others in detention centers awaiting trial, is also entitled to one 30-minute visit per day from someone else, including executives from one of Samsung’s affiliates, or at least 12 hours of such meetings a month.

At the discretion of the warden of the detention center, he could have additional special meetings in a visiting room that doesn't have partitions, allowing detainees to review documents and receive phone calls.

By comparison, in the United States, a defendant in federal custody on corporate crime charges is generally allowed unrestricted access to attorneys during regular business hours but can only receive other visitors for a maximum four hours a month.   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     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY