Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong sentenced to 2 years and 6 months

한겨레 입력 2021. 1. 18. 19:46
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Court says Samsung vice chairman bribed Park Geun-hye and tried to secure his corporate succession
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman heads to the Seoul High Court for his corruption trial on Jan. 15. (Yonhap News)

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has been sentenced to two years and six months in prison for embezzling company funds to bribe former President Park Geun-hye, who has also been jailed for bribery and corruption. Lee was taken into custody after the verdict.

On Jan. 18, the Seoul High Court convicted Lee on charges of bribery and embezzlement. Jeong Joon-young, the presiding judge, said that Lee had “aggressively bribed” Park and “implicitly requested that Park use her presidential authority to aid his succession of the Samsung Group.” Jeong added that the gravity of the charges made imprisonment “unavoidable.”

The court clarified that the legal oversight committee Samsung had established to ward off suspicions of corruption did not factor into the verdict, saying it’s too early to determine whether the committee has prevented any crimes.

“While the standards of the [legal oversight] committee are practically unsatisfactory, we hope that history will view its establishment as an important milestone in the corporate ethics of South Korea,” the court said in its statement.

The court decided that Lee’s immediate detention was necessary considering that the Supreme Court had reversed the ruling of an appellate court in 2019. When given a chance to issue an official response, Lee simply nodded his head and said that he would accept the verdict and the detention.

By Joh Yun-yeong and Jang Ye-ji, staff reporters

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