Crime & Justice

Samsung chief will not appeal bribery case prison sentence

Seoul, Jan 25 (efe-epa).- Samsung’s de facto leader, Lee Jae-yong, will not appeal a ruling by a court in South Korea last week sentencing him to two-and-a-half years in prison for his role in a corruption scandal, his lawyer said Monday.

Lee In-jae told reporters that his client respected the ruling and would not appeal it, local news agency Yonhap reported.

The deadline for appealing the ruling issued by the Seoul High Court on Jan. 18 expires on Monday.

This means that unless an appeal is filed by Monday, the court’s verdict will be finalized.

South Korean prosecutors had requested a nine-year prison term for Lee.

The Seoul High Court imposed this sentence on Lee for his involvement in the so-called corruption scheme created by ex-president Park Geun-hye’s close personal aide, Choi Soon-sil, (dubbed the South Korean “Rasputin” by local media) which ended with Park’s removal and imprisonment.

The court found Lee guilty of paying bribes to Choi – who had influence over Park – to help him become the leader of the Samsung Group after his father, the group’s chairman Lee Kun-hee, had a heart attack in 2014 which left him incapacitated till his death in October last year.

Lee was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 but was released in 2018 when an appeals court reduced his sentence.

However, in August 2019, the Supreme Court presented additional charges against Lee, leading to a retrial of the case.

The magnate is also being tried by another Seoul court on charges of accounting fraud and stock price manipulation allegedly committed during the controversial merger of two affiliates in 2015 with the goal of cementing his leadership.

After the ruling on Jan. 18, Lee was sent back to prison and transferred to the Seoul Detention Center, where he will remain until July 2022 – since he spent one year in prison before and after the first trial – if his sentence is not reduced or commuted. EFE

Many experts believe Lee’s imprisonment will have a negative impact on Samsung’s decision-making on future large-scale investments. EFE-EPA


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