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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.

Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-Yong Arrives At Court
Jay Y. Lee is embroiled in a political scandal that has rocked South Korea.
Getty Images

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.