A South Korean court rejected an arrest warrant against Samsung group heir Jay Y. Lee, saying that the prosecutor’s office has secured “a significant amount of evidence,” but it is still not enough to arrest Lee. Prosecutors filed the arrest warrant last week, accusing Lee of accounting fraud and stock manipulation.
Prosecutors say the value of electronics materials supplier Cheil Industries had been artificially increased in 2015 before merging with Samsung C&T, Samsung’s de facto holding company, to create a lower interest rate for Lee, which at that time was the was Cheil’s largest shareholder.
Lee was in prison for almost a year between 2017 and 2018 after being accused of bribing former President Park Geun-Hye to secure support for the merger. The scandal eventually led to Park’s impeachment in 2017 and a 25-year prison sentence for bribery, abuse of power and embezzlement.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, the Seoul Central District Court said in a statement, “It appears that prosecutors have secured a significant amount of evidence through their investigation, but they have not validated Lee’s detention.”
Prosecutors said the investigation would continue and they could reapply an arrest warrant or take Lee to court without being arrested. Lee’s lawyers said they want the case to be examined by an outside body to determine whether an indictment is warranted.