Jay Y. Lee, the billionaire leader of South Korea’s Samsung Group, was given five years in jail on Friday after being found guilty of bribery, hiding assets abroad, perjury and embezzlement according to a report by Reuters.
This milestone case brought the attention of the world to South Korea’s long running history of corruption by powerful, family-run syndicates. The six-month trail also resulted in the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye, who was discovered to have taken bribes from Lee in return for favours.
Lee, 49, has been detained since February and charged with bribing the former president in an effort to gain control of Samsung Electronics, which leads the world in making smartphones and chips.
Seoul Central District Court Judge Kim Jin-dong said, “This case is a matter of Lee Jae-yong and Samsung Group executives, who had been steadily preparing for Lee’s succession … bribing the president.”
Lee’s lawyer, Song Wu-cheol, insisted that his client is innocent and plans on appealing to a higher court.
“The entire guilty verdict is unacceptable,” Song said.