Samsung heir gets minimum mandatory sentence for bribery

Samsung heir gets minimum mandatory sentence for bribery”

Lee Jae-yong, Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics, was found guilty of offering bribes to South Korea's former president, Park Geun-hye. The court said Lee was involved in 7.2 billion won ($6.38 million) worth of bribes given to former-president Park's friend and confidante, Choi Soon-sil, according to the publication.

The billionaire and acting chairman of the world's largest smartphone manufacturer, who is also South Korea's third richest man, has been detained since February facing a string of charges including bribery, embezzlement and hiding assets overseas.

The prosecution team were succesful in presenting enough evidence to prove that Lee along other Samsung officials bribed the government for meeting their personal and official needs. Samsung will appeal the ruling immediately, company lawyer Song Woo-cheol said.

In return, Lee would receive political favours.

Samsung, founded in 1938 by Lee's grandfather, is a household name in South Korea and a symbol of the country's dramatic rise from poverty following the 1950-53 Korean War. He was found guilty of bribery, embezzlement & perjury, reports the NY Times.

Lee's father, Lee Kun-hee, was also convicted of tax evasion and bribery on two occasions, but never spent any time in prison.

Lee had denied all the charges, and the sentence is well short of the 12 years sought by prosecutors. The Samsung scandal contributed to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

Park makes her second televised apology, saying she would take responsibility if found guilty. Former Samsung Corporate Strategy Office chief Choi Gee-sung and former President Chang Choong-ki each received four years in prison and two other executives received suspended prison terms.

Of course now that the heir to the Samsung empire has been convicted the question on everybody's lips is what will happen to the firm.

In response to the verdict, Samsung's shares fell by 1%.

Reporting on the case, the Guardian points out that the sentence breaks the traditional but unwritten '3-5 law' in which leaders of the nation's family-run conglomerates - known as chaebol - are typically sentenced to three years maximum followed by a five-year probationary period.

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