A South Korean court on Monday acquitted Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Jae-yong of financial crimes involving a contentious merger between Samsung affiliates in 2015 that tightened his grip over South Korea’s biggest company.
The ruling by the Seoul Central District Court could ease the legal troubles surrounding the Samsung heir less than two years after he was pardoned for a separate conviction of bribery in a corruption scandal that helped topple a previous South Korean government.
The court said the prosecution failed to sufficiently prove the merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries was unlawfully conducted with an aim to strengthen Mr Lee’s control over Samsung Electronics.
Prosecutors had sought a five-year jail term for Mr Lee, who was accused of stock price manipulation and accounting fraud. It was not immediately clear whether they would appeal.