Samsung CEO is sentenced to 30 months in prison for bribery

Zoom in / Lee Jae Young, Samsung Vice President, is seen here leaving the court hearing in January 2017.

Chung Seung-joon / Getty Images

It Back to prison To Samsung’s leader, Lee Jae-yong (aka Jay Y. Lee). He got me into a legal battle for his role in “Selection, “A major South Korean political scandal in 2016 led to the dismissal and removal of South Korean President Park Geun-hee. The scandal was named after Assistant to President Choi Sun-sil, a member of a shamanic sect that was found to be the mastermind of South Korean government policy through its influence On the President It’s a long story, but Choi was sentenced to 20 years in prison for power abuse, and Park was sentenced to 25 years.

Samsung’s role in this mess includes accusations that Lee bribed Choi to obtain favorable judgments regarding the merger of two Samsung subsidiaries. In 2017, Lee Sentenced He was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of bribery, embezzlement, capital flight, and perjury. Six months after his sentence, an appeals court cut Lee’s sentence in half and suspended the bribery and embezzlement charges. it was mine Released from prison While the appeals process continued. The case made its way to South Korea’s Supreme Court, which ordered a retrial in 2019.

Today Lee is sentenced to 30 months in prison, and after already serving one year, the Samsung leader is supposed to spend the next year and a half behind bars.

‘Samsung is above the law’

Lee’s initial conviction and ongoing sentence reduction were on par with the trajectory of Samsung executives accused of committing crimes in South Korea. Samsung is so big that it makes up between 10 to 20 percent of South Korea’s GDP, depending on the year, so there is a fear of what the company might hurt the South Korean economy. Lee’s recently deceased father and head of Samsung Group, Lee Kun-hee, was convicted of bribery in 1996 and tax evasion in 2009 but was not arrested nor served a prison sentence. Later, a presidential pardon wiped out his criminal record. As a member of the National Assembly said when Lee’s sentence was reduced in 2018, “We emphasized once again that Samsung is above the law and the court.”

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The Bloomberg report on the verdict gives us an idea of ​​how the “pro-Samsung” faction in South Korea feels about the court’s ruling. the report Quotes Shin Se Dun, professor emeritus of economics at Sookmyung Women’s University: “Lee might be able to run the company from prison, but there will be some setbacks. Lee’s imprisonment will give people an emotional shock. Samsung is the backbone of our economy and people will be upset about the outcome.”

The Samsung Group is currently undergoing a major transformation after the death of Lee’s father, Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, in October. Lee Jae-yong has been the de facto leader of Samsung for years now, after Lee Kun-hee was hospitalized in 2014 after a heart attack. Now Lee Jae-yong will have to properly ascend from “vice president” to official Samsung boss and grapple with the financial challenge of paying the 50% property tax in South Korea on the Samsung empire. Bloomberg has stated that the transfer is “likely” to be delayed until Lee is released from prison.

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