Tag: lee

Samsung bribery case getting tacky

A South Korean court has reassigned the Samsung Group chief Jay Lee’s bribery trial to another judge.

Apparently, the judge had a connection to a woman Lee is accused of bribing.

To be fair to the judge, Lee Young-hoon, who presided over the March 9 pre-trial hearing for Jay Lee and four former and current Samsung Group executives alerted the authorities about his own connection.

But the decision comes a day after an opposition lawmaker accused Lee Young-hoon’s father-in-law of being a financial sponsor for Choi Soon-sil, a confidant of former president Park Geun-hye and a central figure in the graft scandal that led to Park’s removal from office and the Samsung chief’s indictment.

For those who came in late, Park was dismissed as president by the Constitutional Court on Friday last week and has been summoned by prosecution for questioning as a suspect in the bribery investigation.

The special prosecution team that indicted the Samsung chief accused Park of colluding with Choi to pressure big businesses to contribute to non-profit foundations backing her administration’s initiatives.

The court said in a statement that Lee Young-hoon’s father-in-law had denied the allegations and had not met or contacted Choi or her family since the assassination of Park’s father, former president Park Chung-hee, in 1979.

But the case is starting to look even messier than it was when Jay Lee was indicted by a special prosecution team on several charges including pledging $38.03 million in bribes to a company and foundations backed by Choi.


Google Street View collars dog-owner in Taipei bike trial

Google may be in a privacy row over its Street View services, but it seems in some corners it has proved very useful for the law.

Over in Taiwan, the map service was used to prove a crime was committed – leading to the successful conviction a man.

The map service was used after defendant Mr Lee was accused of allowing his dog to run riot, causing his neighbour to have a bike accident.

The victim, Mr Peng, blamed the unleashed dog. He told the courts that it had hounded him while he was riding his bike. He told the judge he became scared of the canine and as a result fell off his bike and hurt his forehead.

Mr Lee, however, said the courts were barking up the wrong tree and said that the dog was not his.

He was quickly collared by Judge Song Kuo-chen, who presented a two-year-old Google Street View picture which showed the dog standing in Lee’s yard. He said this showed that Lee was its owner.

Police had earlier said there were no other dogs in the rural neighbourhood in Miaoli County, south of Taipei, where Lee and the victim live.

As a result Mr Lee was ordered to cough up $2,000 (59,000 NTD).

Ex Google China bigwig taps into Chinese mobile market

Google’s ex head of China Operations has said he’s funding a dozen start ups with his new company, Innovation Works, in a bid to tap into China’s “booming internet market.”

The nation’s mobile market is“beginning to really take off,” Kai-Fu Lee said according to CIO. “Everyone is starting out, figuring out how things will go. That’s exactly the right time when we want to get engaged.”

Lee believes that mobile internet users may more than double within five years as smartphones that can browse the web and download music become more affordable. Bloomberg also quoted Lee as claiming that the number of people accessing the Internet on their mobile devices in China may grow to 800 million within three to five years, from about 300 million now.

He added that within the next few years, entertainment applications such as media players, e-book readers, and games, will dominate the Chinese mobile market as the price of Android phones drops. To attract Chinese users, many of these products will use the “freemium” business model, offering basic services for free and charging for advanced features.

The 12 companies Innovation Works is currently funding largely centre on developing mobile products. The nation’s mobile market is “beginning to really take off,” Lee told Bloomberg.

His company is currently backing a new Android-based mobile operating system called Tapas, which is set to launch in China later this year. Tapas is based on Android and replaces apps with local alternatives. Such tweaks include allowing users to download photos of their contacts via Chinese social networking sites, or display lyrics synchronised with songs. Innovation Works expects Tapas to ship on more than 1 million smartphones by next year.

It’s also backing an iTunes-like program – WonderPod – for smartphones and a mobile app to edit photos. PhotoWonder is a bizarre editing tool designed for young Chinese girls who wish they didn’t look how they did, letting them easily modify their personal photos, such as by lightening their skin or enlarging their eyes.

“We are clearly after the Chinese internet opportunity,” Lee said during a news conference earlier today.

Innovation Works, which was funded with $115 million from investors including Foxconn, WI Harper and Steven Chen, a co-founder of YouTube, has hired 150 engineers, and spoken with 500 different start-ups, during the year that it has been in operation.

As 83 percent of mobile Internet users in China are aged about 29 years or younger, they don’t have a lot of money and are very sensitive to handset prices, Lee said. Smartphones must be priced lower to be affordable.