An outside committee could review the ongoing probe that’s looking into corruption allegations against Samsung Group’s Vice President Lee Jae-yong. A civilian panel will decide today whether it is necessary for the prosecution to assemble a panel of outside experts to review the validity of the ongoing case against the company’s heir.Seoul’s Central District Prosecutor’s office said that it will create a panel of civilians, consisting of 15 ordinary citizens, to look into the written opinions submitted by Lee and the prosecutors. The civilian board includes a taxi driver and a teacher, and the decision will be taken within a day. If the committee of experts is formed, the decision regarding the validity of the investigation and a possible indictment will be made within two weeks.Earlier this week, the court rejected the prosecution’s request for Lee’s arrest citing “insufficient explanation on the need and validity to arrest the defendants against the principle of trial without detention.” Arrest warrants for two other Samsung employees—Choi Gee-sung and Kim Jong-joong—who were working in the company’s Future Strategy Office, which has now been disbanded.The South Korean tech giant has claimed that Lee Jae-yong was not involved in any wrongdoing and did not order any illegal transaction. The outside review system was introduced in 2018 to improve the neutrality and fairness of prosecution in cases that are of public interest. Kim and Lee had requested the court for a public assessment of the investigation.Samsung Group’s heir has been accused of playing a role in the controversial merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T. The merger is said to have been designed to increase Lee’s control over Samsung Group from his ailing father Lee Kun-hee. Lee has already served one year in prison for bribing former South Korean president to force the merger to happen.
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