Lee Jae-yong, Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics, was found guilty of offering bribes to South Korea’s former president, Park Geun-hye. Further convictions included embezzlement, hiding asses overseas, concealing profits from criminal acts and perjury.
The 49 year-old heir was accused of offering bribes to four entities controlled by Choi Soon-sil worth $38m, denied all charges. However, three judges at the South-Korean court in Seoul convicted the Samsung heir on Friday.
Donations of 41bn won (£29m) were given to non-profit organisations, operated by former President Park’s friend, in exchange for political favours by Samsung’s Heir.
The results of the exchange were envisioned to strengthen Lee’s control over Samsung Electrics by winning more government support to restructure the company.
Lee claimed he was unaware of the donations being given to organisations and that other executives dealt with the exchange. Alongside Lee, four other executives were convicted and charged; two with four year jail sentences and two received suspended sentences.
Lee’s lawyer Song Wu-cheol made a statement that he would appeal the court’s decision with confidence of a positive outcome. He said: “We are confident the ruling will be overturned”, according to Reuters.
Lee’s sentence is the most current in a scandal involving millions of South Koreans protesting last year, leading Park to be removed from the officer in March earlier this year.
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Despite the arrest and conviction, Samsung Electronics’ profits haven’t been hugely affected.
Since being founded in 1938, Samsung made up of 60 interlinked companies is vital to South Korea’s economic state and the family controlled business helping bring the country from poverty to a powerful global economic country.