Samsung heir walks free as court suspends prison sentence
Samsung found itself ensnared in a corruption scandal last year that brought down South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the conglomerate’s heir apparent, was arrested on charges that included bribery and corruption. He denied wrongdoing throughout the trial but a Seoul court found him guilty and sentenced him to five years in prison. Lee filed an appeal against his prison sentence with the Seoul High Court and he has now emerged victorious.
Lee Jae-yong is now a free man
Lee Jae-yong walked out a free man today almost a year after he was first arrested and detained. The Seoul High Court ruled on his appeal today and reduced the original prison sentence by half to two and a half years. It also suspended the sentence which means that he does not have to serve any time behind bars.
Presiding senior judge Cheong Hyung-sik said during today’s proceedings that Lee’s involvement in the entire episode was a “passive compliance to political power.” Lee was convicted in August last year for allegedly bribing President Park to cement his control of Samsung Electronics, the conglomerate’s crown jewel.
The prosecutors had originally sought a 12-year jail term for the Samsung scion. They’re expected to appeal this ruling to the country’s Supreme Court. Lee can return to running the conglomerate as there’s no law barring him from working at Samsung.