Samsung heir convicted of corruptions, jailed for five years

Lee Jae-yong has been found guilty by Seoul Central District Court of perjury, embezzlement and bribery

Lee Jae-yong

The three-judge panel of Seoul Central District Court has finally announced the verdict - presumed heir to the Samsung Empire and vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, Lee Jae-yong is guilty of perjury, embezzlement and bribery in South Korea and has to serve five years in prison.

The 49-year-old Lee Jae-yong is the son of the Lee Kun-hee, the incapacitated chairman of the Samsung Group. Keeping with the tradition, he is not scheduled to ascend to the role of chairman until 75-year-old Kun-hee passes away.

The trial of this case was started around six months ago. Lee and four other Samsung executives were accused of giving bribes to the South Korean deposed president Park Geun-hye and a confidante of hers. A whopping 43.3 billion won (about $38 million) was given to an organization controlled by Choi Soon-sil, the close personal friend of Park Geun-hye while seeking favours in return.

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However, the verdict of being guilty doesn't mar the chances of Lee Jae-yong succeeding his father to become the scion of the Samsung group. If any premonition can be derived from the past history is that if elder Lee, previously convicted of tax evasion and bribery, could later manage to secure a pardon, so can Jae-yong with a hefty fine slapped instead of a sentence.

There is a chequered history of South Korean chaebol chairmen receiving pardons, which include that of Hyundai, SK, and Hanwha. Lee Jae-yong's story can turn out to be similar in future. However, for the time being Jae-yong's lawyers have informed that the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics would appeal against the decision.

This article was first published on August 26, 2017