A panel of civilian experts dealt a blow to South Korean prosecutors investigating Samsung Electronics Co. de facto leader Lee Jae-yong Friday by recommending they suspend an investigation into allegations of financial fraud tied to a 2015 merger.

After meeting for several hours at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul, the panel of outside experts called for not proceeding with an indictment in the case against Mr. Lee, 51, who is officially Samsung’s vice-chairman but has led the group since his father’s heart attack…


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