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January 26, 2021

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Samsung boss will not appeal jail term

Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong will not appeal a court ruling that sentenced him to two and a half years in prison for bribing South Korea’s then-president for business favors.

Lee’s lawyers informed reporters of the decision yesterday as prosecutors faced a deadline for filing an appeal to the Supreme Court, which would extend the legal saga over South Korea’s largest business group.

They had sought a 9-year prison term for Lee, whose case highlighted often-corrupt ties between the country’s family-owned conglomerates and politicians. Lee’s case was a key crime in the 2016 corruption scandal that ousted Park Geun-hye from the presidency and sent her to prison.

In a much-anticipated retrial of Lee last week, the Seoul High Court found him guilty of bribing Park and one of her close confidantes to win government support for a 2015 merger between two Samsung affiliates. The deal helped strengthen Lee’s control over Samsung’s corporate empire.

Lee had portrayed himself as a victim of presidential power abuse and his lawyers criticized the ruling. But after mulling his options, Lee decided to “humbly accept” the High Court’s decision, his lawyer Injae Lee said. Samsung did not comment.

Prosecutors as of late yesterday had not said whether they would appeal the High Court ruling, criticized by some activists as too lenient.

Lee, 52, helms the Samsung group in his capacity as vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest makers of computer chips and smartphones.




 

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