Crime & Justice

New 2.5-year corruption prison sentence for Samsung leader

Seoul, Jan 18 (efe-epa).- A Seoul court sentenced Lee Jae-yong, heir to the Samsung empire, to two and a half years in prison Monday in a new trial over his participation in the financial malpractices of former President Park Geun-hye.

The Seoul High Court imposed this sentence on Lee for bribing the friend of former President Choi Soon-sil, nicknamed “Rasputin,” within a wide network of favors that scandalized the country and triggered Park’s exit from power and imprisonment.

Lee, present at the verdict, was guarded from the court to a detention center, to which he will return less than three years after being released when his previous sentence was overturned, according to local agency Yonhap.

Lee had been sentenced to five years in prison in August 2017 for bribes aimed at obtaining favorable treatment from authorities, embezzling funds, hiding assets abroad and committing perjury.

However, in February 2018 an appeals court reduced his sentence and allowed him to leave prison, although his case took a new turn in August 2019, when a higher court decided to bring new charges against him.

The prosecution had requested nine years in prison for the Samsung heir during the retrial, to set an example in this high-profile case involving the notorious “Rasputin” plot.

The businessman is also being tried by another Seoul court, on charges of accounting fraud and price manipulation of stock assets allegedly committed during the controversial merger of two group companies in 2015.

Several irregularities are attributed to that 2015 merger, including an alleged crime of accounting fraud aimed at consolidating Lee’s leadership shortly after his father, group President Lee Kun-hee, had a heart attack that had left him in a coma until his death in October. EFE-EPA

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