Song Su-hyun, 22 April 2021
Samsung Electronics chief Lee Jae-yong on Thursday denied all charges leveled against him during his first trial hearing on alleged irregularities surrounding his ascension to the helm of Samsung Group.
Attending the session held at the Seoul Central District Court, Lee pleaded not guilty when he was asked by the presiding judge to respond to the charges brought against him by prosecutors which include stock market manipulation, illicit trading and breach of trust.
“I cannot admit (to the indictment). I deny (all the charges),” Lee replied, after a short pause.
It was his first public appearance in 94 days, since he was put behind bars on Jan. 18 for a separate conviction of bribing former President Park Geun-hye.
The first hearing was initially set for March 25 but was postponed to Thursday as Lee underwent emergency surgery for appendicitis last month. The jailed son of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee had a partial colon resection as his acute appendicitis was diagnosed too late and resulted in complications.
At court, he looked thinner than before. Local media reported that he had lost about 7 kilograms post-surgery.
The trial was held amid growing calls for leniency on the tycoon. Some business tycoons have called for a special pardon, saying Lee’s return to the helm of Samsung Electronics is in the best interest of the country, as the country’s No. 1 position in the global semiconductor market faces serious threats.