Lee Jaeyong: Samsung’s heir is released from jail parole

Samsung Electronics vice chairman Jay Y. Lee speaks as he is released on parole

Reuters

Samsung heir Lee Jaeyong was released from a South Korean jail and is currently on parole __S.3__

He spent 207 days in prison, just half of the time he served after being convicted in January for embezzlement and bribery.

Park Guenhye was the former president of the country and is currently in prison for bribery as well as corruption.

Lee, Lee’s grandfather founded Samsung Electronics and has served as the company’s de facto leader since 2014.

Outside the prison, Lee gave a short statement.

“I have caused great concern for people. Lee expressed deep regret. I am open to your concerns, suggestions, fears, and high expectations. “I will do my best.”

A high court sentenced the 53-year-old to two and a half years in prison in January.

In exchange for his political support, Park was accused of giving 43bn won (US$37.7m, PS26.7m), to two foundations run by Choi Soonsil, who is a close friend. This allegedly included backing for controversial Samsung mergers that allowed Lee to eventually become the head of the conglomerate.

This deal required support from the national, government-run pension fund.

The court found that Lee had “actively offered bribes” and asked for the President to assist him in his smooth succession.

Lee was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery and concealment criminal proceeds in the amount of 8.6 billion won (PS5.75m)

After considering the impact of the pandemic upon South Korea’s economies, the Justice Ministry stated that it decided to release Lee.

Lee has five years’ probation conditions that restrict his business activities. It is not clear if Lee will be allowed to manage the company, unless he receives an exemption.

For any trip abroad, he will need to be approved.

Lee, who is being investigated for stock manipulation fraud and fraud, could also be indicted and sentenced to a second term.

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Analysis box by Laura Bicker, Seoul correspondent

It appears that this is an economic decision made by South Korea’s Justice Ministry. Help the Covid Recovery in South Korea by releasing the Samsung heir. However, it is not without political consequences.

Moon Jae In came to power as a strong promise to end the tie between government and big business.

Millions of protestors marched over months for Park Geun Hye’s impeachment. More than a thousand civic organizations related to the protests sent a letter asking that the “Crown Prince” of Samsung not be pardoned.

The US Chamber of Commerce and Samsung were the ones who put pressure on Jay Y Lee to be released. American companies argued that Jay Y Lee’s release was necessary to combat the shortage of computers chips. Samsung currently contemplates multi-billion dollar investment in US semiconductor facilities.

Notable is also the fact that parole was made possible earlier in the year by changing the law to allow for prisoners to apply for parole once they have served 60% of their sentences. This allowed Mr Lee today to be freed. However, he hasn’t been pardoned.

However, we are now in full swing towards the presidential election season in South Korea. The current administration has calculated that South Korean voters will be more receptive to the ruling party’s economic policies than it was to sticking with its promises.

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Publited Fri, 13 August 2021 at 04:47:13 +0000

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