The leader of Samsung Group, Jay Y. Lee has been sentenced to five years in jail after the court found him guilty of offering bribes to the country’s former president among other crimes.
This six-month trial over a scandal that brought down former president, Park Geun-hye, a court ruled that Lee had paid bribes in anticipation of favors from the president. The court also found him guilty of hiding assets abroad, embezzlement and perjury.
It merits mentioning here that Lee, heir to one of the world’s biggest corporate empires, has been held in police custody since February. After the court verdict he denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyers told media that they would make an appeal.
This won’t make any impact on company operations as the high-level executives only take part in major negotiations and merger deals. Despite being arrested, Jay Y. Lee still has controlling power, he can make changes in the company management and the professional managers should have to keep reporting to him.
Samsung was essentially untouchable, but times have changed:
Previously, Samsung chairman and executives has been indicted numerous times for bribing and tax evasion. However, Samsung was essentially untouchable, and the family that ran the company wielded the true power in South Korea.
But this five year sentence to a business leader is a landmark for South Korea, where the family-run conglomerates have long been revered for helping transform the once war-ravaged country into a global economic powerhouse.
Still, some people think that the five-year sentence is the weakest penalty and the court should have taken more drasticmeasures.