Samsung heir found guilty of perjury, embezzlement, bribery

Samsung heir found guilty of perjury, embezzlement, bribery

Samsung heir found guilty of perjury, embezzlement, bribery

Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday for bribery, perjury and other crimes.

However, Friday's court ruled that he had approved donations to the foundations belonging to the president's confidante, Choi Soon-sil, which were allegedly set up to support Park's policy initiatives. Although it is unclear what changes will be brought about in Samsung's management, the business has been largely unaffected since Lee's arrest in February, posting record profits of 11 trillion won in the last quarter.

Sources said that the case may end up being decided in the apex court of the country next year and Yong's lawyers are expected to appeal to this judgement.

President Park, on the other hand, is also facing a trial and is likely to be jailed as well.

It's not the first time the family has been found guilty of corruption: Lee's father, Lee Kun-hee, was twice convicted of tax evasion and bribery.

Park also has a trial under way, while Choi was sentenced to three years in prison in June.

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While Lee was sentenced to a jail term shorter than the 12 years prosecutors had sought, the guilty verdict is being seen as a landmark moment in the country's recent move away from its chaebol culture. Park has denied all wrongdoing and has blamed Choi for ruining their friendship.

"The essence of the case is collusive ties between political power and capital power", presiding Judge Kim Jin-dong of the Seoul Central District Court said.

At a parliamentary hearing in December, Lee told lawmakers said he had not been informed of Samsung's bankrolling of the daughter's equestrian training, and that he was unaware of the Chois.

The chaebols, which are family-run conglomerates that wield huge economic power in South Korea, have always been viewed as responsible for the country escaping poverty in the wake of the Korean War.

450 applications were received for the 30 seats in the public gallery of the court to witness the "trial of the century", something which the South Korean media billed. If the conviction is upheld, it will also mark a significant watershed for South Korea, which has previously been lenient to its big companies (chaebols), often issuing presidential pardons for corruption charges.

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