Big news in the world of Samsung today, with a court in South Korea sentencing 49-year-old Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to five years in prison following a trial as a result of allegations of corruption.
Lee, who predictably denied any involvement in the scandal was convicted following his involvement in bribery relating to Park Geun-hye, the former President of South Korea.
Those prosecuting had gone all out, looking for a 12-year term upon Lee’s conviction, with five years being handed down instead. The defendant had been held since he was arrested early in 2017 and has been incarcerated since he wound up in jail in February. The reasons for Lee’s conviction are somewhat complicated, as these things tend to be. He was ultimately accused of making donations of around $36 million to foundations that were under the control of Choi Soon-sil who just so happened to be an acquaintance of former President Park Geun-hye.
The idea was that those donations would result in political favors that would benefit Lee and his businesses, particularly relating to the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates. It was this that was instrumental to the taking over of Samsung Group by Kun-hee.
Lee’s lawyer has confirmed that an appeal will be lodged, with their defence having always been that the payments were authorized without their client’s knowledge of what was going on, something that the courts appear to have disagreed with enough to allow a conviction.
Lee was not the only person involved here with two other former Samsung executives receiving four-year sentences, while former Samsung Electronics President Park Sang-jin and executive Vice-President Hwang Sung-soo were given suspended sentences for their roles in the whole mess. The South Korean President is also facing consequences, with Geun-hye having been impeached and now facing trial for corruption.
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