Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee to serve another 30-month imprisonment due to bribery trial

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Jay Y. Lee, co-vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., middle, wears a protective mask as he arrives at the Seoul High Court in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. A judge will hand down a new sentence for Lees involvement in a corruption case that brought down a South Korean president and ignited a backlash over family-run conglomerates. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Image by Bloomberg/Getty Images

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee was sentenced to serve two and a half years in prison, a South Korean court ruled. They announced this on Monday, the result of which will have major consequences to South Korea’s views on big business, as well as the company’s leadership itself. 

As a result, Lee will be stripped of his position on the meanwhile, leaving him unable to exercise his power as Vice Chairman, as well as receive his inheritance from the former Chairman, his father, Lee Kun-Hee. 

Lee was convicted of bribing an associate of former President Park Geun-Hye and was then consequentially jailed for five years during 2017. He later denied wrongdoing causing the sentence to be reduced and suspended on appeal, he served one year prior to being released. 

Monday’s ruling was a result of the Supreme Court’s sending back the case to the Seoul High Court. To which, they found Lee guilty of embezzlement, bribery, and concealment of criminal proceeds that are worth about 8.6 billion won, which is worth about $7.8 million.

Judge Jeong Jun-Yeong states, “(Lee) has shown willingness for management with newly stronger compliance, as he as vowed to create a transparent company,”

“Despite some shortcomings… I hope that over time, it will be evaluated as a milestone in the history of Korean companies as a start of compliance ethics for a greater leap forward,” he further states. 

“The nature of this case is the former president’s abuse of power violating corporate freedom and property rights. Given that nature, the court’s decision is regrettable,” Lee’s lawyer, Lee In-Jae, told reporters.

The year he served previously in 2017 is supposedly added towards his sentence, this leaves him 18 months more in prison. Experts state that despite Monday’s sentencing being open to appeal, due to the fact that it has already been ruled once, chances are much lower that it will be recognized. 

Due to all this, the shares of Samsung Electronics dropped by 4%, this can also be said for Samsung affiliates Samsung C&T, Samsung Life Insurance, and Samsung SDI.