Samsung Electronics boss Lee Jae-yong has been acquitted of charges of stock manipulation and accounting fraud in connection to a controversial merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015. The Seoul Central District Court found Lee not guilty, bringing a big relief to the billionaire who has been embroiled in legal problems for years. Last year, South Korean prosecutors had requested a five-year jail term for Lee, but his attorneys denied any wrongdoing, arguing that the merger had helped the management of the conglomerate become more stable.
The court’s acquittal of Lee Jae-yong has come as a surprise to experts, with some expressing concerns that it could lower the confidence of foreign investors in the Korean legal system and the soundness of the Korean capital market. Moreover, this verdict has provided relief for Samsung during a time when the company has been battling a sales slump and recently lost its leading position in the smartphone market. Lee’s legal struggles have had an impact on Samsung and its shareholders, and he has expressed the desire to help the company become a truly top-notch company and focus all his capabilities on moving forward. However, foreign investors remain cautious about the outcome of this case and its implications for Samsung’s future.