Former South Korean President Park Geun-Hye is still avoiding the trial of Samsung Group Vice Chairman and heir apparent Jay Y. Lee as she once again refused to testify on her dealings with him. Her latest refusal came on Wednesday, with Park claiming that she isn't able to appear at Lee's trial due to her poor health caused by her own trial and incarceration. The two cases are closely connected, with Park and her associate Choi Soon-sil being accused of helping Lee complete a controversial merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T in 2015, with the company's top executive reportedly looking to facilitate succession proceedings within the company through the deal that saw more corporate power being shifted to the part of Samsung Group controlled by its founding Lee family.
Lee himself already adopted a similar approach to that employed by Park, refusing to testify at her trial earlier this month and citing self-incrimination reasons for doing so. Samsung Group Vice Chairman and the de facto leader of the company since 2014 was previously accused of using corporate funds to finance several organizations connected to Park and Choi in exchange for obtaining their help to complete the aforementioned merger. Park and Choi allegedly pressured the National Pension Service (NPS) to approve the consolidation despite losing significant money on the deal as the largest shareholder of Samsung C&T. Park was already sentenced to three years in prison for her role in the scandal and may receive an even longer sentence after her separate trials for fraud and abuse of power are concluded. Lee is yet to be sentenced on any count, though the ordeal saw him facing official charges of perjury, embezzlement of corporate funds, bribery, and hiding the proceeds of a criminal act. Park's trial started in May and saw her face charges of abuse of power and other criminal transgressions.
Lee's trial is currently expected to be concluded in mid-August, with the prosecutors previously announcing their intentions to make their final sentence demands on August 4. The initial verdict is expected to be given by the Seoul Central District Court two weeks after that date, though Lee will still be able to appeal it.