Samsung vice president was sentenced to prison in Korea for bribes

A South Korean court recently sentenced Samsung'sbillionaire and potential heir, Lee Jae-Yong, to two and a half years in prison. This, having been convicted of offering bribes to the country's former president and other crimes.

The news, commented by Bloomberg, also notes that Lee was also found guilty on crimes of embezzlement, concealing assets abroad, concealing the benefits of criminal acts and committing acts of perjury.

Jae-Yong, de facto leader and vice president of Samsung Electronics, was convicted of bribing his country's former president, Park Geun-Hye, plus one of his aides, to gain government support for a merger between two Samsung subsidiaries, a movement with which he increased his control over the conglomerate. He is the billionaire son of Samsung President Lee Kun-hee, who died in October.

Reiteration of an old trail

The origins of this case go back a few years. Initially, Lee Jae-Yong was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 by a district court, charged on the same charges. He was then released in 2018 after a two-and-a-half-year stay of his sentence was handed down in an appeals court.

In 2019, the South Korean Supreme Court ordered the reopening of the case with a retrial, as it considered that the appeals court wrongly dismissed some of the charges against Lee.

Bribes issued by Lee Jae-Yong consisted of three horses and other favours given by his executives and Samsung to former President Park amounted to more than $7 million.

At the start of a new stage with this trial, Lee's lawyers founded their defence by highlighting their efforts and Samsung's efforts to adhere to the law, forming a compliance committee for these regulations.

Despite this initiative, the Seoul High Court questioned the effectiveness of such a committee, commenting that it was not a determining factor during its decision-making process.

One of the latest consequences of this legal episode was known in May last year, when Samsung's de facto leader publicly apologized at a news point for his conglomerate's involvement in the scandal, acknowledging that charges of unethical activities accused of him were caused by a "succession problem" and promised to focus his efforts on strategies to increase the company's value.

While Lee Jae-Yong is already imprisoned again, at the same time, he is also being tried for alleged manipulation of share prices during the merger of Samsung's two subsidiaries, a case that directly involves him.

For his part, former President Park, also involved in this case, serves a cumulative sentence of 20 years in prison, for cases of corruption and political responsibility.

For Samsung, this situation involves a major recall. Following the new imprisonment of its vice president, executive management was relieved by an interim board. Samsung Electronics shares fell 3.4% after the judicial verdict became known.

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