The heir and de facto leader of family-owned conglomerate Samsung was sentenced to prison for 2 1/2 years Monday in a retrial regarding his involvement in a bribery scandal involving the former president of South Korea.
Lee Jae-yong, also known as Jay Lee, was found guilty of bribery, embezzlement, and concealment of criminal proceeds worth roughly 8.6 billion won (U.S. $7.8 million). Lee was first arrested in February 2017 over his alleged role in a political and corporate scandal linked to former South Korea President Park Geun-hye, who was later ousted for abuse of power.
In August 2017, a court convicted Lee of the charges and sentenced him to a five-year prison term. The sentence was cut in half in February 2018, and the Seoul High Court suspended the prison term. In a retrial, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the Seoul High Court, which found Lee “actively provided bribes and implicitly asked the president to use her power to help his smooth succession.”
Lee’s prior prison time will count toward his new sentence.
In September 2020, South Korean prosecutors separately charged Lee in connection with a 2015 merger of two subsidiaries and alleged irregularities in accounting practices at another subsidiary.