[THE INVESTOR] The defense team of Samsung Electronics heir and Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is likely to try and push back his Supreme Court trial as much as possible so that the prosecution loses steam and public interest wanes, according to industry sources on April 6.
“Lee’s attorneys will do everything they can to delay the hearings, most likely by burying the courts with paperwork,” said one source who is close to the prosecutorial team investigating the case. He added the trial could be pushed back to as late as next year.
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong. Ahn Hoon/The Investor
A spokesman from Bae, Kim & Lee, the law firm leading the defense for Lee, declined to comment on such speculations, saying only that it’s customary for SC trials to take around six months. “SC trials usually take at least half a year,” the spokesperson said, refusing to elaborate further.
Samsung is also keeping mum on the issue.
A civic group, named Nanum Munhwa, believes the ruling will not likely be made until at least October since the courts will be occupied with cases against former President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil.
Founded in 2000, Nanum Munhwa is run by attorneys, publishers, professors, religious figures and others.
A critical factor in Lee’s trial is whether the SC acknowledges the validity of Park’s former aide Ahn Jong-beom’s notebook, which allegedly contains direct quotes from the former president, according to market watchers.
On April 6, the Seoul Central District Court accepted the memo as evidence when it sentenced the former president to 24 years in prison and an 18 billion won (US$16.84 million) fine. She was convicted of 16 counts of corruption, including bribery, coercion and abuse of power.
The court, however, did not find Park guilty of taking bribes from Samsung in return for supporting its transition of power.
Meanwhile, the Samsung heir came back to Korea in the early hours of April 7 after about 16 days abroad.
The trip, during which pictures he had taken with famous chefs and restaurant patrons were leaked, was his first real public appearance since the Samsung scion was freed in February after an appeals court handed down a suspended prison sentence.
Samsung said the vice chairman toured mostly Europe and North America to meet with global partners.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)