Samsung officials referred to trials after first indictment in accounting scandal

SEOUL, Prosecutors said Friday they referred two officials of Samsung Bioepis, an affiliate of Samsung BioLogics, to court trials on charges of manipulating and destroying evidence in an accounting scandal involving the two Samsung companies.

It marked the first indictment of Samsung officials since the Securities and Futures Commission under the Financial Services Commission filed a complaint last November against Samsung BioLogics over suspicions of accounting fraud.

The national financial watchdog earlier estimated, in its own inquiry, that the alleged fraudulent accounting by Samsung BioLogics amounts to approximately 4.5 trillion won (US$3.9 billion).

The then-loss making Samsung BioLogics reported sudden profits in 2015 after it changed the method used to calculate the valuation of its stake in Samsung Bioepis, a joint venture with U.S.-based Biogen Inc.

Civic groups claimed the alleged fraud was intended to enhance heir apparent Lee Jae-yong's control of Samsung Group.

Samsung BioLogics has claimed that the change of accounting methods was in line with international accounting standards.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said a Samsung Bioepis vice president surnamed Yang and a company employee identified only by the surname Lee were indicted and referred to trials on charges of participating in the alleged groupwide attempt to destroy criminal evidence.

Last week, two executives of Samsung Electronics were arrested on charges of trying to conceal and manipulate accounting documents and internal reports of Samsung BioLogics and Samsung Bioepis last summer.

Prosecution investigators found a computer server and tens of notebooks concealed under the floor of Samsung BioLogics plant in Incheon, west of Seoul, in a raid last week.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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