Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong received a huge relief today. The President of South Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol, pardoned Lee on the occasion of next week’s Liberation Day anniversary in the country. Lee Jae-yong can now formally take control of South Korea’s largest conglomerate.
Earlier, Lee was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison after being found guilty of bribing former South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s aide to force the merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries merger. After Samsung heir spent 1.5 years in prison, he was released on parole and needed permission to travel abroad for business meetings. His pardon is expected to improve Samsung’s business and, in turn, the South Korean economy.
During his jail term, Lee was prevented from taking employment and a proper title at the company’s board. So, he only received reports from the company’s officials. He is now expected to make major strategic decisions, ranging from governance reforms and major chipmaking deals.
After the announcement of Lee’s pardon, Samsung Electronics’ shares rose 1.3% in South Korea. Due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, weak consumer demand, and supply chain issues that rose due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Korean tech giant has been facing many problems. Its semiconductor design and foundry arms have also faced business challenges, and Lee’s pardon would allow him to make decisions quickly to improve the company’s shape.
In a joint statement, the South Korean government said, “In a bid to overcome the economic crisis by vitalizing the economy, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, whose suspended prison term was ended recently, will be reinstated.” Lee’s pardon will come into effect on August 15, 2022.