Loading in 2 Seconds...
Loading in 2 Seconds...
Read more about Samsung heir walks free after South Korea court suspends 5-year jail term on Business Standard. However, Jay Y Lee has been found guilty of some lesser charges and is prohibited from travelling outside South Korea without a judge\'s approval
court suspends 5-year jail term
A South Korean appeals court on Monday suspended a jail sentence handed
down to Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee, setting him free after a year's detention
amid a corruption scandal that brought down the former president.
Seoul High Court jailed Lee for two and a half years, reducing the original term by
half, and suspended the sentence for charges including bribery and
embezzlement, meaning he does not have to serve time.
Lee, 49, heir to one of the world's biggest corporate empires, had been detained
since last February.
President Park Geun-hye was dismissed in March after being impeached in a case
that brought scrutiny to the nature of the ties between South Korea's chaebols -
big family-owned corporate groups - and its political leaders.
Park, who denies wrongdoing, is standing trial accused of bribery, abuse of power
A lower court in August convicted Lee for bribing Park for help in strengthening
his control of Samsung Electronics, the crown jewel of the country's largest
conglomerate and one of the world's biggest technology companies, as well as
embezzlement and other charges.
The court said Samsung's financial support for entities backed by a friend of
Park's, Choi Soon-sil, constituted bribery, including 7.2 billion won ($6.4 million)
to sponsor the equestrian career of Choi's daughter.
Presiding senior judge Cheong Hyung-sik on Monday called the nature of Lee's
involvement in Samsung's monetary support for Choi a "passive compliance to
Prosecutors and Samsung did not have an immediate comment.
Lee, whose face was noticeably worn, did not show any emotion when the ruling
Prosecutors had sought a 12-year jail term for Lee. The ruling is expected to be
appealed again to the Supreme Court, legal experts said.
With the end of his year-long detention, which according to local media he
adjusted to with physical workouts and reading books, Lee could continue with
his existing roles including director of Samsung Electronics.
However he has been found guilty of some lesser charges and is prohibited from
travelling outside South Korea without a judge's approval, according to law firm
Cho & Partners.
The lower court ruling in August had said while Lee never asked for President
Park's help directly, the fact that a 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates did help
cement Lee's control over Samsung Electronics implied he was asking for the
president's help to strengthen his control of the firm.
His lawyers had strongly challenged this logic and said that the merger was done
for business reasons.
Some criminal lawyers had expected Lee to be found innocent of most of the
charges, as much of the evidence at the trial has been circumstantial.
But although he was set free from detention by the appeals court, the stigma may
stick, lawyers say.
"Public opinion will get riled up and people will keep thinking there was some
quid pro quo between Samsung's Lee and the president," Lee Jung-jae, a lawyer
at law firm Jung said.
Article By - Business Standard