The appellate court has opened its first hearing on bribery charges against Samsung Group’s heir, around two months after a lower court sentenced him to five years in prison.

During the hearing at the Seoul High Court on Thursday, the independent counsel investigating the Choi Soon-sil scandal and the lawyers of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong argued whether memos written by a senior aide to impeached President Park Geun-hye can be used as evidence against Lee. 

Special prosecutors want the memos admitted as evidence to prove Lee's complicity in the bribery scandal. His lawyers say the president's remarks in the memos can't be considered evidence, and they should not be admitted.

In August, the Seoul Central District Court found Lee guilty of providing eight-point-nine billion won in bribes for illicit projects run by Choi, a close friend of Park. 

The bribes were allegedly made so the government would smooth a merger between two Samsung subsidiaries and cement management succession from his ailing father Lee Kun-hee.