South Korean prosecutors on Monday have asked a court in Seoul to imprison Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-Yong for 12 years if he is convicted in a corruption scandal that led to the dismissal of the country's former president Park Geun-Hye.
The prosecution indicted Lee, the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., in February on charges of providing or promising to give 43.3 billion won (US$38 million) to Park and her friend Choi Soon-sil.
Taking the stand for the first time in his defence last week, Lee claimed that he had no role in decision-making at the wider Samsung group and "mostly listened to other executives".
At the final hearing, prosecutors called him the "ultimate beneficiary" of crimes committed in the scandal. Park accused Samsung officials of lying in their testimonies to protect Lee. In some cases, presidents have pardoned them, citing their contributions to the national economy. The court ruling is expected by August 27, Reuters reported, adding that Lee denied any wrongdoing. As the impeached Park was branded as an accomplice to Choi, bribing Choi would be equivalent to bribing Park.
It is alleged he made a large donation in exchange for government support of a merger of two Samsung subsidiaries. He has said he did not know of Choi or her daughter before the scandal grabbed national headlines and said Samsung's succession situation was not discussed during three meetings he held with the former president.
Prosecutors also are seeking heavy penalties for four other former Samsung executives who had belonged to a once-powerful corporate strategy office that handled such activities. They sought terms ranging from seven years to ten years for the other accused.
The merger was extremely crucial to the third-generation Samsung chief to inherit the management control from his ailing father Chairman Lee Kun-hee who has been hospitalized in 2014 for heart attack.