Samsung heir Jay Lee released from prison following successful appeal

06 February, 2018, 15:19 | Author: Julian Harrison
  • Chairman Jay Y. Lee arrives at a court in Seoul South Korea

The reason Lee's sentence was cut in half in the appeals court is due to the judges finding that Lee did not seek any help in return for the support.

The case led to months of mass protests and Park's eventual impeachment in December 2016.

Special Counsel Park Young-soo had demanded 12 years in prison for Lee. He left the court shortly after the verdict was read, climbing into a bus that was waiting outside. But the upper court did not acknowledge that Lee had provided the illegal funds as an implicit solicitation for special favors nor acknowledge that Lee deliberately hid the assets. Mr Lee said he plans to appeal again to clear his name of all the convictions.

"This is a case where Ms Park intimidated Samsung's management and her friend pursued personal interests", the court said in the ruling.

Lee, who was arrested in February a year ago, is the only son of the ailing Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee. His sentence was reduced to 2.5 years today on appeal, and he was allowed to leave on a four-year probation, according to Bloomberg.

"I think what is going on is that Samsung have been waging a media campaign to win sympathy and to show their contribution to society", said Geoff Cain, author of an upcoming book on Samsung.

"The past year was a precious time for personal reflection", Lee told reporters waiting outside the gates of a detention center in southern Seoul. The Suwon, South Korea-based company took the opportunity to unveil a 50-to-1 stock split, which sent its shares surging. Its combined businesses are estimated to account for around 15% of the country's entire economy.

A Joong-Ang Ilbo article published on January 29 warned of "concerns voiced abroad" ahead of Lee's appeal verdict, compiling quotes from various foreign business experts and politicians about the potential negative effect of Lee's imprisonment on Samsung, the South Korean economy, and even the credibility of president Moon Jae-in and the South Korean government. The executive - heir to the Samsung chaebol - was found guilty of bribery and embezzlement in a case that brought down South Korean president Park Geun-hye a year ago.

The 49-year old Lee is heir to one of the world's biggest electronics company in the world.

Samsung reported record profit last week and disclosed numbers showing that its chip business pulls in more revenue than Intel Corp. Neither Lee nor Samsung shared any immediate comment on the dismissal of the case.



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