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Samsung chief to stand trial over allegations of propofol use

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong heads to court to attend a hearing at the Seoul High Court in Seocho-gu, Seoul, in January. (Yonhap)
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong heads to court to attend a hearing at the Seoul High Court in Seocho-gu, Seoul, in January. (Yonhap)

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong will face a formal court trial on charges of illegally taking propofol injections, according to sources Tuesday.

The Seoul Central District Court has decided to hold a trial on the issue, at the request of the state prosecution service, they added.

Early this month, prosecutors indicted the de facto leader of Samsung Group, now in jail for bribery and corruption, on a "summary offense" in connection with his alleged use of propofol, which is illicit to prescribe or consume in South Korea other than for the purpose of specific treatments.

Prosecutors have sought a fine of 50 million won ($44,200).

A summary indictment is a measure taken on minor crimes.

Gyeonggi Nambu Police Agency recently delivered the results of its probe into the allegation of Lee's additional propofol use to the prosecution. That is a reason why prosecutors changed their position to request a formal trial, as they leave the possibility open for seeking a heavier punishment against Lee, the sources said.

Lee is suspected of having excessively and illegally taken the anesthesia drug at a plastic surgery clinic in Seoul in 2017-2018.

He has denied the allegation, arguing that he used propofol "normally" in accordance with a doctor's prescription. (Yonhap)

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