Samsung heir convicted of bribery: Company's future at stake

Aug 26, 2017, 01:19
Samsung heir convicted of bribery: Company's future at stake

Samsung's de-facto chief, Jay Y. Lee, has been sentenced to a five-year jail term after a court in South Korea found him guilty of embezzlement, perjury and bribery to get government favors for the Korean electronics giant.

And for 22 billion won in donations to foundations allegedly controlled by Choi, the court said Lee was not guilty as Samsung had no alternative but to comply with Park's browbeating.

Lee, who has been detained since February, was accused of being involved in a massive corruption scandal that led to the ousting of former South Korean President Park Geun Hye. Samsung will appeal the ruling immediately, company lawyer Song Woo-cheol said. They are on trial over charges of receiving bribes from local firms including Samsung, with the ruling expected in October.

South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who replaced the Park after a May 9 election, has pledged to rein in the chaebols, empower minority shareholders and end the practice of pardoning corporate tycoons convicted of white-collar crime. This five year sentence is among the longest sentences given to a business leader. "We can not accept the verdict", Lee's lawyer Song Woo-chul said after the ruling.

"This case is a matter of Lee Jae-yong and Samsung Group executives, who had been steadily preparing for Lee's succession. bribing the president", Seoul Central District Court Judge Kim Jin-dong said.

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The court's decision also contradicted Samsung's officially stated position that its recent merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T had nothing to do with the passing of the mantle to Lee from his late father, and was merely about creating businesses synergies.

It is a significant setback for the world's leading smartphone-maker, which also saw two other executives, Choi Gee-sung and Jang Choong-ki, sentenced to four years in jail as part of the same trial.

Along with Lee's sentencing, several former executives were convicted Friday.

The convictions are the second major hit to Samsung's reputation after the disaster of the exploding Galaxy Note 7.

Meanwhile, Samsung's share price has dropped by 1% since the judgement.

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