Samsung chairman ordered to appear in Indian court in decade-old dispute

NEW DELHI, April 2 Wed Apr 2, 2014 5:56am EDT

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NEW DELHI, April 2 (Reuters) - India's Supreme Court has ordered Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee to appear before a local court within six weeks to avoid arrest in a decade-old dispute with a supplier over a $1.4 million payment.

A two-judge panel ruled on Monday that an arrest warrant issued against Lee by a local court in Ghaziabad, near New Delhi, would not be executed for six weeks, according to an order posted on the court's website.

Lee will have to appear before the local court and can seek bail and an exemption from having to appear, the Supreme Court judges ruled.

Lee, 72, is South Korea's richest man with a net worth of $11.2 billion, according to Forbes. Samsung did not have any immediate comment on the Supreme Court order.

The Supreme Court's verdict came after an appeal by Lee, who local media said had sought to have the criminal proceedings against him dropped. The Supreme Court dismissed his petition.

"We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion in regard to the merit of the case," the panel of judges said in its order for Lee to appear.

(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Matt Driskill)

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