Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun Hee will stand trial for tax evasion and breach of duty, prosecutors said, after a three-month probe into allegations of corruption at South Korea's largest industrial group.
Lee, 66, was charged with evading 112.8 billion won ($114 million) of taxes, the special prosecutors said at a press conference in Seoul today. Lee is also charged with breach of duty for incurring losses at Samsung when helping his son gain control of units of the group. Nine other Samsung executives were also charged. Lee, one of South Korea's richest men, has denied the allegations.
Reuters adds that Lee was a bit of a recluse in his own country:
He is rarely seen in public and he speaks in soft whispers. But when Lee Kun-hee coughs, South Korea catches a cold... His business acumen and secretive ways have made him the object of endless fascination and speculation at home.
"People believe Samsung is a company that never fails, which is why to them the person who built up that group with his management skills, Lee Kun-hee, is thought to be god-like." said Kim Sang-jo, executive director of Solidarity for Economic Reform, which is calling for better corporate governance.