Lee Jae-yong was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery, hiding assets overseas, perjury and concealing profit from criminal acts.
Bribery and cronyism scandal has toppled-down this South Korean president and has claimed a major slam on its business after he was sentenced to prison for five years because of bribes and perjury.
The billionaire, South Korea’s third-richest man and heir to the sprawling Samsung empire, had been accused of making large donations to foundations run by a close friend and confidante of the deposed South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, in return for political favours.
The court said Lee provided bribes anticipating support from Park, who was still president at the time, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
Lee’s lawyers said they would appeal. “As a lawyer I cannot possibly agree with the juridical decisions and acknowledged facts involved in the verdict,” the Samsung attorney Song Woo-cheo said outside the court.
“We will appeal against the decision and I am sure that in the appellate trial all the charges will be dismissed.”
Lee showed no reaction as the court found him guilty of bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, concealing profit from criminal acts and perjury.
Earlier, South Korean TV followed him on his journey from a detention centre to the court. He emerged from a justice ministry bus in handcuffs, with white rope around his jacket, and carrying an envelope of documents.
There was huge public pressure on the court to deliver a guilty verdict after the wide-ranging scandal swirling around Park ended in her impeachment last year and calls for South Korea to address decades of collusive ties between senior politicians and family-run conglomerates, or chaebol.
While the 49-year-old, who is also known as Jay Y Lee, was spared the 12-year term demanded by prosecutors, his sentence is the longest given to any South Korean chaebol leader.
Four other top Samsung executives were also convicted and received sentences of up to four years.
Lee’s conviction could also have consequences for Park, given that their cases are so closely linked. Park faces a possible life sentence when a ruling in her case is given later this year.
Source: The Guardian