Samsung scion Lee appeals against five-year jail term for bribery

Tuesday, 29 Aug, 2017

Lee's lawyer has steered media inquiries to Samsung, whose spokeswoman did not have any immediate comment about the appeal.

Samsung secretively provided a huge amount of money to Choi's Germany-based company that paid for the training and the exorbitantly priced foreign horses worth 3.6 billion won ($3.2 million) were part of the bribes, the verdict said.

The disgraced Park and Choi, Park's friend of 40 years, have been on trial since May for conspiring to receive bribes from local firms including Samsung Group to help Choi pursue personal interests.

Lee was the only one of the leaders of 16 conglomerates to be indicted on charges related to the coercion of funds for the Mir and K-Sports foundations, which was the primary cause behind Park's expulsion by the Constitutional Court in March.

Lee may be kept in detention for a maximum of four months while a court considers his appeal.

Prosecutors had demanded a 12-year jail term for him on charges of offering or pledging 43.3 billion won of bribes to win the government's blessing for a merger of two Samsung units under terms created to increase his control over the entire Samsung empire so as to cement a power transfer from his ailing father Lee Kun-hee. In return for the financial contribution, the court found that Ms. Choi colluded with Ms. Park to provide government backing for business deals relating to Mr.

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South Korea is the US' seventh-largest trading partner, while the US is South Korea's second-largest partner after China. Korus also helps the USA on a strategic level as China's economic and political influence grows in the region.

Park is facing her own corruption trial, with a ruling expected later this year.

The court said Lee had provided bribes anticipating support from Park, who was still president at the time, The Guardian quoted South Korea's Yonhap news agency. Since his arrest in February, Mr. Kwon and the other two co-CEOs of Samsung Electronics were managing the company by themselves, sources close to the tech giant said, adding that other divisions of the chaebol are now more autonomous than ever before, which some industry watchers previously claiming how that disconnection between various divisions of Samsung Group could hurt the company in the long term. Samsung will appeal the ruling immediately, Song Woo-cheol, a Samsung attorney, told reporters. Twice convicted of tax evasion and bribery, the elder Lee never spent any time in prison.

Public perception in South Korea toward the country's biggest family-controlled business empires has changed in recent years as scandals have mounted and as the economy has matured, making them less appealing in an era of entrepreneurship and startups. Instead, Samsung has insisted that a merger of two Samsung companies at the centre of the scandal was about creating business benefits.

Samsung has not denied transferring corporate funds.

There has not been a major tumble among Samsung affiliates since the imprisonment of Lee. Some were pardoned and others got sentences reduced on appeal.