Samsung heir could face 12 years in jail for bribery

Jay Y. Lee reportedly fought back tears as he denied any wrongdoing in court on Monday.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
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Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-Yong Arrives At Court

Jay Y. Lee is embroiled in a political scandal that has rocked South Korea.

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Samsung's billionaire de facto leader is facing up to 12 years in jail for bribery if prosecutors get their way.

The company's Vice President Jay Y. Lee fought back tears in court on Monday as he denied any wrongdoing, reported Reuters.

Lee is accused of bribing former president Park Geun-hye, a scandal which led to the ousting of the South Korean leader, and also faces charges of embezzlement and perjury. He had been in detention since February, but will have to wait a few more weeks for the court to deliver its final verdict on August 25. His fate will be decided by three judges rather than a jury, and as is traditional in South Korean courts, the sentence will be decided ahead of the verdict.

"I have never asked anyone, including the president, for anything for the company or my personal gain," said Lee in court.

"We have an opportunity to establish the rule of law," special prosecutor Park Young-soo said, according to Bloomberg. "The defendants have colluded with power to seek personal interests, turning their backs on people's wish to shed light on the truth behind the scandal."

Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment.