Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong gets five years for corruption

26 August, 2017, 01:20 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • Seoul court to decide fate of Samsung's de facto leader

Lee has been accused of bribery in the same scandal that led to the departure of Park, and had been arrested in February on corruption charges.

The prosecution team were succesful in presenting enough evidence to prove that Lee along other Samsung officials bribed the government for meeting their personal and official needs.

Lee, who was considered the heir to his father's position as chairman of Samsung, is expected to appeal the court decision. Lee, in return, was expecting political favours including the merger of two Samsung affiliated businesses that would have reportedly increased his strength within the company in 2015. His lawyer said they would appeal immediately.

After the scandal was unearthed, he was facing multiple charges, including bribery, misappropriation and perjury, centred on payments and promises by Samsung totalling 43.3 billion to ousted president's aide Choi Soon-Sil.

South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who replaced the Park after a May 9 election, has pledged to rein in the chaebols, empower minority shareholders and end the practice of pardoning corporate tycoons convicted of white-collar crime. Park was impeached back in May for her involvement.

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Lee was sentenced to five years in prison Friday - a shorter term than prosecutors sought in the so-called "trial of the century". However, since his father, Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack, it's been generally assumed that Jae-yong had been calling the shots at Samsung.

It marks the downfall for the scion of South Korea's richest family, which controls one of the world's largest consumer electronics companies.

The bribes relate to a wider scandal that had shaken South Korean society and saw the ouster of former president President Park Geun-Hye, who is also on trial.

A court in South Korea found Lee Jae-yong guilty of bribery, a verdict that could prove damaging to the company's global reputation. "They also embezzled money from Samsung Electronics, illegally transferred assets overseas and concealed criminal profits". It's worth noting that the Samsung conglomerate is involved not just in electronics, but also in shipping, medicine and many other industries.

The ruling leaves a leadership void at Samsung, whose shares fell by 1 percent within hours of the verdict, the BBC reported.



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