Samsung Group denied all accusations of bribery and corruption it's currently facing in South Korea. On Monday, the company issued a statement insisting "the truth" on the influence-peddling scandal that's rocking the Far Eastern country for months now will be revealed during the upcoming trial but didn't elaborate on the matter. This isn't the first time the largest business conglomerate in the Far Eastern country denied all accusations laid out by the Supreme Prosecutors' Office (SPO) that was recently granted an arrest warrant for Samsung Group's Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee.
Samsung's statement came shortly after special prosecutor Park Young-soo held a televised press conference during which he accused Lee of colluding with another top executive at Samsung over bribing the South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil. Lee was allegedly looking to solidify his control of the conglomerate by bribing President Park and Choi to facilitate a 2015 merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T. The merger gave more power to the part of Samsung Group controlled by the founding Lee family, thus facilitating the succession proceedings within the company, authorities claim. Lee allegedly paid over $37 million in bribes to ensure the National Pension Service (NPS) votes for the merger despite anticipating a $120 million loss following the transaction. The state-owned NPS previously had a stake in Cheil Industries and wasn't inclined to vote in favor of the merger that would saw it lose money, which is why Lee resorted to bribes, the SPO believes.
The bribes were reportedly paid as donations to several organizations connected to President Park and Choi, as well as the latter's daughter Chung Yoo-ra. Due to the assumption that Lee used Samsung Group's liquid assets for bribes, the SPO also accused him of embezzling corporate funds. Lee is currently in jail and is waiting for a trial that's scheduled to begin on Thursday, March 9. The current legal framework predicts the court proceedings will last no longer than three months and be wrapped up by June. Lee previously admitted to paying some money to organizations linked with President Park and Choi but claimed he was pressured to do so and expected nothing in return.