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South Korea’s top court ruling on Samsung heir and ex-president

South Korea’s top court ruling on Samsung heir and ex-president

SEOUL: Samsung Group will discover the fate of its de facto leader on Thursday as South Korea’s Supreme Court rules whether to uphold the bribery conviction of Jay Y. Lee, in a scandal that unseated the president and trained public ire on corporate untouchables.

The ruling will also determine how much Lee, 51, can focus on steering the group’s flagship Samsung Electronics Co Ltd through falling profitability and Japanese export curbs on materials crucial for the world’s leading chipmaker.

The Supreme Court is also set to rule on appeals court decisions in the case against former President Park Geun-hye, who was impeached following the scandal and is serving a 25-year prison sentence on charges including bribery.

In late 2016, prosecutors arrested Park’s friend Choi Soon-sil on suspicion of exerting inappropriate influence over state affairs after Park allowed Choi to edit draft speeches.

Court documents showed Park pressed conglomerates including Samsung Group to make donations to Choi-backed foundations and separately asked Samsung to support the equestrian training of Choi’s daughter.

Park was impeached in March 2017, making her the country’s first democratically elected leader to be ousted from office. At her trial, she denied wrongdoing.

Samsung heir Lee was arrested a month earlier, accused of seeking presidential favors in exchange for extending Choi financial support. Samsung and Lee denied wrongdoing.