A South Korean court has sentenced Lee Jae-yong, 49, to five years in prison for bribery, embezzlement, illegally transferring assets overseas, concealing criminal proceeds and perjury. Lee was the heir apparent to the Samsung family and one of the most powerful people in the country, which is sometimes called “The Republic of Samsung.”
The charges against Lee stem from a political corruption scandal that also led to the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye. “At the heart of this case is the collusion between political power and economic power,” the presiding judge said. “This is a case in which Samsung executives . . . provided a large amount of money in bribes to the president, who has the final say in economic policy, in anticipation of help with the succession process.”
Park is now on trial and faces a potential 10-year prison term.