Saturday , June 10 2023

Lee Jae Yong: Samsung heir gets prison term for bribery scandal

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Samsung heir Lee Jae Yong has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison by a high court in South Korea on Monday.

Lee, 52, was found guilty of bribing an associate of former president Park Geun-hye and jailed for five years in 2017 but was released after 12 months.

The Supreme Court then sent the case back to Seoul High Court, who found Lee guilty of bribery and concealment of criminal earnings worth around $8.6bn.

Presiding Judge Joeng Jun-yeong hopes the ruling will set higher standards for South Korea’s business giants.

“I hope that over time, it will be evaluated as a milestone in the history of Korean companies as a start of compliance ethics for a greater leap forward,” he said.

Lee is expected to be sent to Seoul Detention Center, a prison on the outskirts of the capital where he spent time from 2017 to 2018 after the initial charges.

He will be tested for coronavirus on arrival before being sent to a small solitary room for three weeks with a toilet in the corner and a mattress on the floor.

The ruling will have a major effect on his leadership of Samsung, whose shares dropped more than 4 per cent in the wake of Lee’s trial before they began to rebuild ground.

Lee will be sidelined during a critical time for the tech giant as it strives to overtake competitors.

He will also be unable to oversee his father’s inheritance, who died in October, which is crucial to keeping control of Samsung.

Lee’s lawyer, Lee In-joe, said: “The nature of this case is the former president’s abuse of power, violating corporate freedom and property rights.

“Given that nature, the court’s decision is regrettable.”

Monday’s sentencing can be appealed to the Supreme Court within seven days, but legal experts say its chances of changing are low.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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