Prosecutors want 12-year sentence

Prosecutors want 12-year sentence

She could face life in prison.

"I have never asked anyone, including the president, for anything for the company or my personal gain", said Lee in court.

Jay Y. Lee's lawyers argued that his so-called overarching intention of cementing ownership control was "a fictional construct" made up by prosecutors, with moves such as the merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 aimed merely at ensuring survival and growth of individual companies. His fate will be decided by three judges rather than a jury, and as is traditional in South Korean courts, the sentence will be decided ahead of the verdict.

At the final hearing of his trial on Monday, prosecutors called Lee the "ultimate beneficiary" of crimes committed in the scandal, which sparked massive protests in the country and ultimately led to the impeachment of Park.

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Samsung Electronics offered no comment regarding the prosecutors' demand. Prosecutors allege the money was paid to a company in Germany to bankroll equestrian training for the daughter of a friend of then-President Park Geun-hye.

Lee allegedly offered $38m (£29m) in bribes to four entities controlled by Choi, to whom Park often turned for advice on policy, such as the security threat from North Korea. As the impeached Park was branded as an accomplice to Choi, bribing Choi would be equivalent to bribing Park. Park admitted allowing Choi to edit her speeches and to providing her with confidential documents, despite her advisor having no formal role or security clearance. He apparently slushed 43 billion won (35.3 million euro) to organizations owned by Choi Soon-sil, a confidante of the former president and the centerpiece of the entire case. Powerful South Korean families have a history of avoiding jail time even after major scandals, and Lee's ultimate fate is hard to call. They requested seven to 10-year terms for three other former Samsung executives.

The merger was opposed by many shareholders, but went through after the national pension fund - a major Samsung shareholder - approved it.

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