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Samsung chief named suspect in $7.5m fraud

11 February 2018

The scandal which has followed the Samsung family seems far from over as the South Korean police an Thursday named its chairman, Lee Kun-hee as a suspect in a $7.5 million (8.2 billion won) tax evasion case.

A series of scandals have dogged the family of Samsung, South Korea's biggest business empire.

On Monday, the Seoul High Court overturned a lower court ruling, slashing Lee's original prison term to two-and-a-half years suspended for four years.

Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-Hee arrives at Gimpo airport in Seoul after he visited several European countries and Japan, May 24, 2012.

The chairman has been there since 2014 after suffering a heart attack, after which his son was regarded as the de facto head of the group.

Industry watchers say the new allegations linked to the former president will likely deal a serious blow to the Korean tech behemoth, which has kept a low profile since its de facto leader Lee Jae-yong was released from prison on February 5. The police also says that accounts holding some 400 billion won were discovered during their investigation into the payments made for the renovation of the Lee's famiily home.

The group dismantled its corporate strategy office in late 2017. But while Lee is now out of prison, his father might be moving in.

Prosecutors raided the offices of Samsung Electronics and a house in Seoul belonging to a former Samsung executive as part of their investigation into a scandal involving former President Lee Myung-bak.

In 2009, the elder Lee was convicted on a separate charge of tax evasion, and later pardoned by former President Lee Myung-bak.

Shares in Samsung Electronics rose 1.1 percent compared to a 0.5 percent rise in the wider market .KS11 .

Samsung chief named suspect in $7.5m fraud