Samsung Group head gets suspended jail term

06 February, 2018, 15:15 | Author: Shannon Newton
  • Samsung heir freed after jail term is cut for bribing ex-president

The court used its own discretion to suspend the five year jail sentence, despite upholding some of the charges brought against Me Lee.

The heir-apparent was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison with four years of probation at sentencing at the appeal trials that began in October.

Dubbed the "trial of the century", Lee's case gripped South Korea for months. Lee was the highest-profile business person caught up in the scandal, which eventually led to Park's impeachment.

Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, speaks before leaving a detention center in Uiwang, South Korea. He left the court shortly after the verdict was read, climbing into a bus that was waiting outside.

But the three-judge bench of the Seoul Central District Court found Lee guilty of paying bribes totaling $6.4 million, which he embezzled from the company, and then lied about it. Mr Lee said he plans to appeal again to clear his name of all the convictions.

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However, Judge Cheong Hyung-sik on Monday said Lee's involvement in Samsung's financial support for Choi was a "passive compliance to political power".

He added he needed to visit his ailing father, Samsung Group patriarch Lee Kun-hee, who suffered a heart attack in 2014. It said as well that just 3.6 billion won had been paid in bribes, and not the 7.2 billion won the lower court had ruled.

Geoffrey Cain, the author of a forthcoming book on Samsung, said that South Korea was slack light on white-collar crime, particularly by the very wealthy. "The past one year was precious time for me during which I could look back at myself".

Such links were once seen as the key to South Korea's impressive rise from the ashes of its 1950-53 war but now are blamed for corruption, inequality and stifling innovation. Its combined businesses are estimated to account for around 15% of the country's entire economy. Lee's father was prosecuted on charges of bribery and tax evasion, who later received a presidential pardon.

Samsung vice chairman Jay Y. Lee has been released from prison following a successful appeal.

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On Monday, Seoul High Court slashed Lee's sentence to two and a half years and also suspended it.

Samsung Electronics, the biggest and most profitable part of the group, has continued to perform strongly during Lee's incarceration.

Samsung reported record profit last week disclosing numbers that it's chip business pulls in more revenue than the intel corp. Neither Lee nor Samsung shared any immediate comment on the dismissal of the case.

But leading conservative newspapers Chosun Ilbo and Joong-Ang Ilbo, which together account for a 70 percent share of the South Korean newspaper market, made a decision to establish their own lines of defense for Lee.

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