Key Issues in Trial of Samsung Heir Charged with Bribery

Lee Jae-yong, the billionaire Samsung Group heir, will stand trial Thursday in a Seoul court. He is charged with, among other offenses, offering bribes to President Park Geun-hye and a close friend of hers to strengthen his control over Samsung, the conglomerate founded by his grandfather that is South Korea's largest and most successful business. Four other Samsung executives will also stand trial.

Documents from special prosecutors detail allegations that Lee and his aides used Samsung corporate funds to purchase expensive horses for the equestrian daughter of Park's friend Choi Soon-sil. They also say the presidential office pressured the national pension fund to facilitate a father-to-son leadership succession at Samsung in exchange for 43.3 billion won ($38 million at current exchange rates) from Lee.

Samsung says it did not seek any favors and it denies any wrongdoing. "Future court proceedings will reveal the truth," it said in response to the documents prosecutors released Monday. Below are issues that Lee and prosecutors will be contesting at court, and Samsung's responses.

Is Lee a Bribery Suspect or Victim of Coercion?

Prosecutors believe Lee and other Samsung executives gave or promised to give the $38 million to four entities controlled by Choi as a form of bribery. Samsung will likely contend it was coerced into giving the money.

About half of the $38 million went to two nonprofit foundations and a winter sports center under Choi's control that purport to support Korean cultural and sports activities. Samsung promised to give $19 million to the German-based sports agency that oversaw the equestrian training of Choi's daughter. Before the scandal unfolded, Samsung paid 6 million euros out of the promised amount, which in part covered the costs of the horses for Choi's daughter. Prosecutors believe that in transferring the 6 million euros to the German-based company Samsung forged documents and...

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