Prosecutors Ask For Nine Years In Slammer For Samsung Boss
The multi billionaire boss of Samsung, one of the world’s most successful Companies is facing nine years in the slammer for bribery if South Korean prosecutors have their way.
Lee Jae-yong, has already served time in prison, but was let out following a successful appeal, this was not enough for prosecutors, now they have appealed to the Supreme Court for a new nine-year sentence.
Lee, 52, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, was sentenced in 2017 to five years in prison for offering 8.6 billion won ($7 million) in bribes to Park and her long-time confidante Choi Soon-sil. But he was freed in early 2018 after the Seoul High Court reduced his term to 2½ years and suspended his sentence, overturning key convictions and reducing the amount of his bribes.
The case is a key element in an explosive 2016 scandal that triggered months of public protests in South Korea including the toppling of the Countries President.A ruling on Lee could send him back to prison on charges that he bribed former President Park Geun-hye and her long-time confidante to get the government’s backing for his push to solidify his control over Samsung.
Since the original ruling his father and Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-Hee has died resulting in a major restructuring of Samsung shareholdings.
A team of prosecutors led by independent counsel Park Young-soo demanded the Seoul High Court sentence Lee to prison. They said Samsung “more actively sought unjust benefits” than other businesses with regard to the 2016 scandal. The prosecutors said Samsung, which is South Korea’s biggest company, should “set the example” for efforts to root out corruption.
“Samsung is a business group with overwhelming power, and there is even a saying that South Korean companies are divided into Samsung and non-Samsung ones,” the prosecutors said in closing comments. “The rule of law and the egalitarianism principle … are meant to punish those in power and those with the economic power in line with the equal standard.”
Prosecutors also asked the court to sentence three former Samsung executives to seven years in prison and another former executive to five years.
The Seoul High Court is to issue a ruling on Jan. 18, according to South Korean media reports.
In September, prosecutors separately indicted Lee on charges of stock price manipulation, breach of trust and auditing violations related to a 2015 merger between two Samsung affiliates that helped strengthen Lee’s control over the group’s crown jewel, Samsung Electronics.
Lee’s lawyers denied the charges, calling them “one-sided claims.” They say the 2015 merger was “normal business activity.”