Samsung leader Jay Y. Lee given 5-year jail sentence for bribery

(Reuters) – The billionaire head of South Korea’s Samsung Group, Jay Y. Lee, was sentenced to five years in jail for bribery on Friday in a watershed for the country’s decades-long economic order dominated by powerful, family-run conglomerates.

After a six-month trial over a scandal that brought down the then president, Park Geun-hye, a court ruled that Lee had paid bribes in anticipation of favours from Park.

Jay Y. Lee

The court also found Lee guilty of hiding assets abroad, embezzlement and perjury.

Lee, the 49-year-old heir to one of the world’s biggest corporate empires, has been held since February on charges that he bribed Park to help secure control of a conglomerate that owns Samsung Electronics , the world’s leading smartphone and chip maker, and has interests ranging from drugs and home appliances to insurance and hotels.

Lee, who emerged stony-faced from the Seoul courtroom in a dark suit, but without a tie, and holding a document envelope, was escorted by justice ministry officials back to his detention centre. “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, using Lee’s Korean name.

 

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