Accounting fraud by Samsung’s CEO? The South Korean court made its decision

Luc Williams

The Seoul Central District Court acquitted Li almost three and a half years after he was accused of engaging in market irregularities in the merger of Cheil Industries Inc. with Samsung C&T Corp.

Sentenced to 30 months in prison for paying bribes

The case involves a controversial 2015 merger and alleged accounting fraud in an offer to help with succession plans. Cheil Industries bought C&T, Samsung’s trading and construction subsidiary, a move opposed by C&T shareholders. According to the American investment fund Elliott, the company’s value was underestimated, which was to the detriment of shareholders.

Before the merger, the Li family and related entities controlled Cheil, but not Samsung C&T, which was the main shareholder of Samsung Electronics, known as the crown jewel of the Samsung group, explains Reuters.

In November 2023, South Korean prosecutors demanded five years in prison and a fine of 500 million won (PLN 1.5 million) for Li. The businessman claims he did not break the law, arguing that he and other management members acted in the belief that the merger would benefit shareholders and help “concentrate all resources on the development of the company.”

The grandson of Samsung’s founder was previously sentenced to 30 months in prison for paying bribes in exchange for the favor of the then president of South Korea. Park Geun Hie and for concealing assets abroad, embezzlement and perjury. He was pardoned by President Jun Suk Jeol in 2022 because the South Korean government. he assessed that the businessman is needed to help revive the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic.


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