Samsung’s heir has been sentenced to 5 years in prison after being found guilty of corruption
The billionaire head of Samsung has on Friday been sentenced to five years in prison.
A court in South Korea found Lee Jae-yong guilty of bribery, a verdict that could prove damaging to the company’s global reputation.
Lee, who is vice chairman of the Samsung Group, has for months been embroiled in a corruption scandal that has gripped South Korea.
The only son of Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, South Korea’s richest man, the younger Lee has been detained since February, on accusations of donating up to $38 million to various organisations at the request of former South Korean president Park Geun-hye, in return for political favours.
The 49-year-old has denied all wrongdoing, and his lawyer has said that they will appeal against the decision.
“The entire verdict is unacceptable,” said Song Wu-cheol, one of his lawyers.
Prosecutors had earlier demanded a 12-year jail term for Lee, who was also accused of embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, concealment of criminal proceeds and perjury.
Samsung shares fell by 1.5 percent following the verdict.
But the trial is not only significant to the mobile giant.
The guilty verdict is closely linked to former President Park, who has now been removed from office. She was earlier charged with abuse of power and coercion by pressuring big businesses to contribute to non-profit foundations.
She was also charged with taking bribes from Lee in exchange for supporting his succession — something she has all along denied.
The corruption scandal has also resulted in the conviction of another close associate of Park’s, Choi Soon-sil, who was sentenced to three years in jail in June.
Via her friendship with Park, Choi was found guilty of meddling in state affairs, as well as wielding influence over large conglomerates in the country.
The ruling on Park, South Korea’s first female president, is expected in October.