Samsung VP Lee Jae-yong has gone on trial in South Korea for his alleged role in a corruption scandal that led to the ousting of President Park Geun-hye.
Lee Jae-yong denies charges of embezzlement and perjury.
Prosecutors say Lee Jae-yong gave 43 billion Korean won ($38 million) to President Park Guen-hye’s friend, Choi Soon-sil, for political favors.
Park Geun-hye is suspected of colluding with Choi Soon-sil to get conglomerates to donate to Choi’s foundations.
The ousted president was arrested last week, after being impeached, and sent to a detention centre, although she has not yet been formally charged.
Lee Jae-yong, who appeared in court in handcuffs, has denied the bribery allegations, saying Samsung was coerced into handing over the funds.
Another four Samsung executives have also appeared in court in connection with the scandal. They also deny the accusations.
Lee Jae-yong’s case is “one of the most deep-rooted and typical cases involving unhealthy relations between politicians and businessmen,” said Special Prosecutor Park Young-Soo in his opening statement in Seoul’s Central District Court.
The 48-year-old vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics has been the parent company Samsung Group’s de facto head since his father Lee Kun-hee suffered a heart attack in 2014.
On April 7, the chairman of the powerful Lotte conglomerate, Shin Dong-bin, was also being questioned by prosecutors in connection with the widening corruption probe.
They are investigating whether donations given by Lotte to foundations allegedly controlled by Choi Soon-sil were bribes connected to the firm’s bid for a lucrative duty-free business.