Court Convicts Samsung’s Chief Over Corruption Charges

Yesterday, Seoul Central District Court in South Korea convicted the chief of the Samsung business empire over a huge corruption scandal and jailed him for two and a half years. Lee Jae-Yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electro­nics, was involved in bribery and fraud in connection with the scandal that took power from President Park Geun-Hye.

Court Convicts Samsung’s Chief Over Corruption Charges

In its verdict, the Seoul Central District Court said.

Lee actively provided bribes and implicitly asked the president to use her power to help his smooth succession. 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.

The multi-billionaire Lee was immediately taken into custody after the court’s verdict. In response to the verdict, Lee’s lawyer, Lee In-jae, told reporters.

This is essentially a case where the freedom and property rights of a company were violated by the former president’s abuse of power. Given the nature of the matter, I find the court’s ruling regrettable. Samsung is by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates, or chaebols, that dominate business in the world’s 12th-largest economy.

The case probed millions of dollars which Samsung group paid to Park’s secret confidante. Choi Soon-sil, allegedly paid for government favors including assuring a smooth transition for Lee to succeed his dying father.

The scandal put a light on dubious connections among big enterprises and politics in South Korea, with the removed president and her friend alleged of taking bribes from corporate in exchange for preferential treatment.

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