Samsung chief denies bribery charges in 'trial of the century'

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Five Samsung executives, including the head of Samsung Group [corporate website], Jay Y. Lee, on Thursday denied [press release, in Korean] all bribery, embezzlement and corruption charges levied against them. The Samsung leader's defense team claimed that the special prosecution's indictment relies on conversations, evidence, and witnesses that the prosecution did not actually hear or investigate according to the law - and also states a number of opinions which have been presented as the ultimate truth are not factual.

Song Wu-cheol, defending Lee, told the court that it was unclear what kind of order Lee is supposed to have given.

The denial came came from Lee's lawyer at the start of his trial which is part of the influence peddling allegations against South Korea's President Park Geun-hye.

The date of the next hearing will be decided next week.

Lee is accused of paying almost $40 million to Park's close friend Choi Soon-Sil as bribes to secure policy favours.

The prosecution case is that Lee and other top Samsung executives paid money as bribes to a close friend and adviser to the president.

Samsung's move follows a similar investment from rival LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS), which said last month it would spend $250 million to build a home appliance factory in the United States.

The co-accused include former Samsung Group Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung, former Samsung Group President Chang Choong-ki and former Samsung Electronics President Park Sang-jin. The prosecutor accuses him of conspiring to transfer 29.8 billion won (S$36.5 million) to Choi's organisations in return for favours.

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