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BREAKING NEWS: Samsung Heir Gets Another 2 Years In Prison

Samsung Electronics boss and heir to the South Korean business has been sent back to jail on bribery charges.

A South Korean Court this afternoon re applied the shackles to heir Jay Y. Lee who was sentenced to two years and six months in prison following a years-long graft trial.

During the last hearing on Dec. 30, Lee read out a lengthy personal apology over the case — reiterating pledges he first made in May — stressing his effort to make Samsung company great while pledging not to repeat past wrongdoings and pledging not to pass down power to his children. Lee’s ascension to the chairmanship of Samsung after his father’s death in October is likely to be delayed until he goes free.

In a previous case of bribery which saw Lee serve a year in prison, former South Korean President Park Geun-hye was jailed for 20 years. Lee was involved in the corruption process according to prosecutors.

The latest sentence lands the top decision maker at the world’s biggest electronics company behind bars at a time of unprecedented global uncertainty and when Samsung is facing new competition in the processor and component and smartphone markets.

Lee, 52, has been fighting the case for four years following a controversial merger of Samsung subsidiaries in 2015.

The Samsung Vice Chairman was accused of offering horses and other payments to a friend of the former president to win support for his formal succession at the corporation.

The Supreme Court upheld a 20-year prison term for Park last week, citing wide-ranging charges including bribery related to Samsung.

The Seoul High Court first jailed Lee in 2017 after convicting the billionaire for his role in the Park Geun-hye bribery case.

The Samsung Group’s de facto leader served a year in prison but was released in February 2018 after his original five-year term was halved and suspended. The Supreme Court overturned that verdict and ordered a retrial in 2019.

Shares of Samsung Electronics fell nearly 4% after the sentence was read out in court.

According to Bloomberg the ruling creates a vacuum atop the world’s largest producer of memory chips, smartphones, and consumer appliances at a time the Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating rising uncertainty around the U.S.-Chinese relationship and intensifying competition.

While Samsung’s daily business is run by an army of managers, Lee’s absence may stall or complicate massive investments or strategic longer-term moves.

The executive plays an active role at the company, frequently joining government-related and public events after he was released from the prison.

Lee also faces another case related to a controversial merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries in 2015, centred on allegations ranging from violation of capital markets law to a breach of duty. Lee will have to attend hearings in that case from jail and could be jailed for another five years if found guilty.

The jailing could prevent him from ever attending CES again as he will be listed as a convicted felon.

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