Samsung’s Lee Jae-yong Likely To Receive Presidential Pardon
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong appears likely to receive a presidential pardon on South Korea’s annual Liberation Day celebration next Monday.
Lee was paroled last August, after service 19 months in prison for bribery and embezzlement.
He was accused of paying $USD37.7 million to two non-profits in exchange for political favours. Lee was found by the court to have “actively provided bribes and implicitly asked the president to use her power to help his smooth succession.”
Lee is currently on a five-year employment restriction, which technically stops him from taking control of Samsung.
Samsung has floundered since the 2020 death of Lee’s father, chief executive Lee Kun-hee, which is a problem for the Korean economy, given the global semiconductor crunch, and the recent push by the US to turn itself into a chip production powerhouse.
A presidential pardon could see Samsung’s succession plans play out, with Lee stepping up to take over the company.
Nikkei Asia notes that Lee’s father is among many business leaders who have received presidential pardons, “as their leadership is seen as indispensable to the country’s economic growth and prosperity.”
Lee’s father was pardoned for tax evasion in 2009 to help South Korea secure the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.