Samsung Group has been no stranger to controversy over the last few months thanks to its widely-publicized exploding smartphones, and the ongoing corruption scandal involving its heir and South Korea’s ousted president is not helping.
The South Korean tech giant’s de facto head Lee Jae-yong, known professionally as Jay Y. Lee, has wrapped up two days of his testimony by saying he had no knowledge of any pressure from former president Park Geun-hye to pay bribes, and that he did not wield extensive power while running the company.
Lee has been accused of paying the former president and her associate some 43 billion won (approximately $49.54 million Canadian) in bribes in order to maximize his control of the Samsung empire.
According to his testimony, “90 to 95 per cent” of Lee’s work at Samsung was limited to being vice-chairman of its flagship electronics division. For other matters, he was assisted by the corporate strategy office, headed by his former top lieutenant, Choi Gee-sung, Thomson Reuters reports.
“While people outside Samsung think I’m higher in the hierarchy, I’ve never even taken a host seat at any meeting or luncheon (when Choi was around),” Lee told the court.
Choi all but confirmed this in a separate testimony, saying that “as head of the corporate strategy office, it was my responsibility to make a final decision.”
“While people outside of Samsung think Lee is the leader as he made public appearances to represent Samsung, he’s been doing it because chairman Lee Kun-hee is hospitalized,” he adds.
Lee has been the de facto head of the company since 2014 when his father, Samsung’s second-generation leader Lee Kun-hee, was hospitalized after a heart attack.
This all comes just weeks after Lee refused to testify at the bribery trial of South Korean’s exiled leader in early July, saying that it could affect his own hearing.
You can find more of our coverage regarding this ongoing case here.