In what has already been christened the “judgment of the century” in South Korea, Samsung’s vice president and “heir” Lee Jae-Yong has been sentenced Friday to five years in prison for paying bribes millionaires in exchange for Political favors. According to state news agency Yonhap, the Seoul Central District Court has found Lee, 49, guilty of bribery, embezzlement, concealment of assets abroad, concealment of criminal acts and perjury.
With this ruling, which his lawyers have already announced they will appeal, closes one of the most sordid chapters of the corruption scandal of the “Rasputina” of South Korea. Because of her obscure influence on the government, so has been nicknamed Choi Soon-sil, an intimate friend of the previous president, Park Geun-Hye, dismissed in March for this case. Arrested, both waits to be judged as well.
The sentence is a blow to the reputation of the South Korean multinationalAccording to the court ruling, the “heir” of Samsung paid 43.3 billion won ( 32.6 million euros) to four foundations controlled by the “Rasputina” for the National Pension Fund to approve the merger of two Subsidiary companies in 2015. Thanks to this operation, the Executive strengthened its position in the company to succeed its father, Lee Kun-hee, retired from the presidency after suffering a heart attack in 2014.
Although Samsung has not denied such payments, Lee Jae-Yong, the grandson of its founder, has insisted on his innocence throughout the process and has discharged the responsibility of “donations” to foundations in other executives. Along with him, four other senior officials of the company have been convicted, two of them with suspended sentences.
In addition to condemning the “heir” Samsung, for whom the prosecutor asked for twelve years, the sentence is a blow to the reputation of the South Korean multinational. Despite this scandal, and the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco for its exploiting batteries, the company posted a record profit of 14.1 trillion won in the second quarter of the year (10.61 billion euros).
Withdrawal from his father
But experts believe that the imprisonment of Lee Jae-Yong and the retirement of his father by illness will affect the decision-making of Samsung, who last year carried out six acquisition projects and this year has not carried out any.
Following the conviction of Lee Jae-Yong, former Park Geun-Hye and her friend Choi Soon-sil, the protagonists of the biggest political scandal that has shaken South Korea in recent years, are still to be tried for corruption.