According to Bloomberg News, Samsung’s heir, Jay Y. Lee, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for taking bribes, ending a court battle that began four years ago.
Lee was initially sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 but was released free of charge after only one year after his initial term was suspended on appeal. The South Korean Supreme Court overturned the decision and ordered a new trial in August 2019.
Lee was arrested in a corruption scandal involving South Korean President Park Geun-Hye. Li Gen was sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly selling others. Lee was found guilty because he used his wealth to influence Park’s business interests in Samsung, including merging two Samsung divisions.
The prosecutor initially urged Lee to sentence him to 12 years in prison to show that even Samsung was not subject to legal sanctions.
During his imprisonment, at a critical moment when demand for his memory chips and other products is high, Li may not be able to make major decisions for Samsung.
Especially due to unstable relations between the United States and China, South Korea and Samsung have recently become more prominent.
He made a long apology at the final hearing of the trial and promised to create a “new Samsung” and “amend the hazards of the chaebol (family business group) pointed out by the court,” he said. He also vowed not to pass power to his children.
The judgment is based in part on the court’s evaluation of the independent compliance committee established by Samsung, which is responsible for overseeing improper conduct by senior executives.
Lee’s legal issues have not yet been resolved because he is also on trial for alleged fraud and stock manipulation. After his father Lee Kun-hee passed away at the end of last year, he still hopes to become the chairman of Samsung.