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Samsung chairman sentenced to 2.5 years by Seoul High Court

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Samsung’s chairman Lee Jae-yong has been handed a 2.5-year sentence by the Seoul High Court for bribery. The case was a retrial of a case where Lee was handed a 5-year sentence. While he was sentenced in August 2017 to five years, the sentence was halved and suspended in February 2018 by the Seoul High Court meaning that he was free.

Today’s sentencing comes after the country’s Supreme Court sent the case back to the Seoul High Court which subsequently gave him a new sentence of two years and six months. Lee’s troubles all began in February 2017 when he was arrested for bribery after donating to two non-profits operated by a friend of the then South Korean president in exchange for political support.

Discussing the verdict, the court said:

“It is very unfortunate that Samsung, the country's top company and proud global innovator, is repeatedly involved in crimes whenever there is a change in political power.”

Lee’s father, Lee Kun-hee, died in October following six years of hospitalisation after a heart attack in 2014. Since then, his family – consisting of a wife and three children – have been trying to work out who will take over Samsung. With his new sentence, Lee Jae-yong will be temporarily side-lined from the company and experts talking to BBC News say it could create a leadership vacuum and hamper the firm’s decisions around large-scale investments.

Source: BBC News

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