New Delhi: Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd’s chairman Lee Kun-hee was ordered by the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday to appear before a Ghaziabad court over the next six weeks in a case related to a dispute over non-payment of $1.4 million by the South Korean firm to an Indian vendor.
The case was filed by New-Delhi-based JCE Consultancy, a maker of coke calcination packages that are used in the aluminium industry.
In November 2001, JCE claimed it had sold goods worth $1.37 million to Sky Impex Ltd, a Dubai-based firm that purchased the products on behalf of Samsung Gulf Electronics, Dubai, a unit of Samsung, South Korea.
While Samsung claims to have executed a bill of exchange to Sky Impex for purchase of the above mentioned goods, which was further endorsed in favour of JCE consultancy, JCE claimed that Samsung did not “honour" its commitment under the bill of exchange. Subsequently, JCE filed a criminal complaint against Samsung, Dubai, naming Lee as one of the accused.
Subsequently, Lee approached the high court and the Supreme Court for quashing of a first information report against him but his plea was rejected by both the courts earlier, said a PTI report. The trial court, thereafter, issued an arrest warrant against him for not appearing before it in the case. A Samsung spokesperson said that Lee was not involved in the day-to-day operations of the many overseas subsidiaries of Samsung and expressed confidence the Indian courts will recognize his innocence and deliver justice.
The spokesperson claimed that Samsung was, in fact, the victim of a multi-million dollar fraud against its Dubai unit. “The perpetrators of the fraud were convicted years ago in Dubai to two years in prison, but having illegally fled justice, are now wanted by the government of the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Samsung Gulf Electronics is a victim of this fraud scheme," the spokesperson said. Officials of JCE could not be immediately reached for a comment.
According to PTI, the Supreme Court bench headed by justices C.K. Prasad and P.C. Ghose, however, on Wednesday directed that the arrest warrant issued against Lee should not be executed for six weeks. “In the meanwhile, the petitioner shall appear before the trial court in session (hearing) of the case and seek bail and/or exemption from appearance in accordance with law," the bench said.
The bench passed the order on Monday on an appeal filed by Lee challenging the Allahabad high court’s order dismissing his plea for setting aside the arrest warrant issued against him.
The 72-year-old Lee, the third son of Samsung founder Byung-Chull Lee, is Korea’s richest man with an estimated net worth of $11.3 billion, according to Forbes magazine