But the Seoul Central District Court turned down the prosecution’s request, ruling there was not sufficient probable cause for his arrest, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
Lee attended the hearing, which Yonhap said lasted for about nine hours.
The merger transaction was seen as helping ensure a smooth third-generational power transfer to Lee, a scion of Samsung’s founding family.
Chaebol families often have only a small ownership stake in their empires, but maintain control through complex webs of cross-shareholdings between units.
Lee was the largest shareholder in Cheil Industries, and critics say Samsung sought to artificially lower the price of C&T to give him a bigger stake in the merged entity — a key part of the Samsung structure — consolidating his grip on the conglomerate.
Last week, the Samsung group rejected media reports of price manipulation as “groundless”, saying in a statement Lee did not take part in “any illegal acts”.