Published: Tue, August 29, 2017
Tech | By Constance Martin

BRIBERY SCANDAL: Jailed Samsung heir appeals 5-yr sentence

BRIBERY SCANDAL: Jailed Samsung heir appeals 5-yr sentence

The court said that Samsung Group expected the ex-president to help Samsung Group achieve a smooth transition of leadership from its ailing Chairman Lee Kun-hee to his only son Lee Jae-yong through the 2015 merger of its two affiliates.

On Aug. 25, when the verdict was announced in first trial of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, it was found that the financial support provided for the equestrian career of Choi Soon-sil's daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, and for the Korea Winter Sports Elite Center were bribes.

Park, who was removed from office earlier this year as a result of the scandal, is also on trial, as is Choi.

A Seoul Central District Court judge delivering its ruling on bribery and other charges after a six-month trial in a scandal that triggered Park's impeachment and ouster, also found Lee guilty of hiding assets overseas and perjury.

"At the same time, as a precautionary strategy, they're likely to try to bring down the sentencing due to extenuating circumstances - Lee could not reasonably refuse the demands of the country's highest decision-maker", Byun added.

A scandal which has re-shaped South Korean politics and rocked the country's elite - overshadowing even North Korean missile threats - began when reporters at CNN affiliate JTBC found a computer belonging to Choi Soon-sil late a year ago.

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Samsung, founded in 1938 by Lee's grandfather, is a household name in South Korea and a symbol of the country's dramatic rise from poverty following the 1950-53 Korean War. He said he was unaware of the foundations or the donations, which were overseen by other executives. "We hope that it would pave the way to end persistent government-business collusion, which has hampered society from moving forward", its spokesman Yoon Young Chan said.

"Lee's imprisonment shows they are down to business quite seriously this time".

Samsung Electronics Co.'s chief executive urged his employees to stay focused on their work following last week's conviction of Samsung's de facto leader, and punctuated that business-as-usual appeal with a fresh $2.3 billion investment in semiconductors.

Park's relationship with Choi and her father Choi Tae-min has always been controversial in Korea. Samsung will appeal the ruling immediately, Song Woo-cheol, a Samsung attorney, told reporters.

The ruling in Lee's case can be appealed twice.

The JoongAng Daily, a company with close family ties to the Samsung Group, raised questions over reasonable doubt, saying that "Samsung lawyers will have a good case for an appeal". Lee has two sisters, but neither has been heavily involved in Samsung Electronics, which is widely regarded as the center of the Samsung empire.

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