The South Korean prosecution seeks to change judges for the criminal retrial of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, claiming unfair procedures are underway.
The special prosecution team presented a written request Monday to ask other judges to try Lee’s bribery scandal involving former President Park Geun-hye.
Currently, the first criminal division of the Seoul High Court, headed by Judge Jeong Joon-young, is in charge of the case. He has been dubbed as compassionate to the de facto Samsung chief.
“The first division lost its consistency. Its trial procedures are biased,” the prosecutors said in the request. “The division has shown its willingness to hand down a suspended jail term to Lee.”
They particularly took issue with the first division’s suggestion last October. Judge Jeong called for stricter compliance measures of Samsung so as to prevent the recurrence of similar malpractices.
The country’s biggest conglomerate responded by setting up a committee, which is led by a former Supreme Court justice, to monitor the group’s practices this January.
Vice Chairman Lee and his lawyers have also provided more details over how Samsung has attempted to strengthen its compliance system.
Vice Chairman Lee was jailed in 2017 on charges of offering bribes to former President Park and her aide Choi Soon-sil in return for their help in reinforcing his grip over Samsung.
Later in the year, a district court sentenced the businessman to five years in prison. But he was released early 2018 as an appeals court halved his sentence and suspended it.
Then, The Supreme Court overturned the appellate court’s verdict in 2019. As a result, the High Seoul High Court has to come up with a new ruling on the case.
Under the Korean judiciary system, the Seoul High Court can still mete out a suspended jail term even tough the top court overturned its previous suspended sentence.
This article is provided by UPI News Korea. _ ED.