Samsung Chief Sentenced to 5 Years in Jail for Corruption
A South Korean court has ruled that Lee Jae-yong, who is the head of the Samsung business empire, is guilty of bribery and other corruption charges.
Lee Jae-Yang, was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday. Originally, prosecutor were pushing for a 12-year sentence.
These news are a big blow for Samsung, who is the world’s largest smartphone maker and South Korea’s biggest family-run conglomerate. It is estimated that the company is accountable for around 15% of the South Korean economy.
“The public is disappointed that this kind of large-scale crime caused by cozy relations between politics and business still happens — it’s not in the past but remains a reality,” Judge Kim Jin-dong said in court. He also said that some of the blame should be put on Park Geun-hye, saying the former president made “aggressive demands” of Samsung.
Lee Jae-Yang was found guilty of bribing former President Park Geun-hye in exchange for government support for a merger that would help him gain even more control of Samsung. Lee Jae-Yang has been the chief of the company since his ailing father was left handicapped in 2014 due to a heart attack.
In addition to the criminal charges laid above against Lee Jae-Yang, the court had also ruled that head of Samsung is guilty of perjury, concealing criminal profits, embezzlement and hiding assets overseas. Lee Jae-Yang has denied the charges. His lawyers said they reject the court’s ruling and that they will file an appeal right away.
Prosecutors said that Lee Jae-Yang knew exactly what he was doing when Samsung paid tens of millions of dollars to entities linked to former President Park Geun-hye in order to win government backing for the key merger.
Lee Jae-Yang conviction follows right after a bad year for Samsung, when we were dreaded with Galaxy Note 7 phones catching on fire.