Samsung boss freed as sentence suspended in appeal trial

Samsung Heir Faces Verdict over Bribery in Appeals Trial

An appellate court is set to hand down its verdict Monday on Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who was found guilty by a lower court of offering kickbacks to former President Park Geun-hye, and her friend, in a scandal that led to Park's ouster previous year.

Lee was given the five-year sentence for giving bribes of 8.8 billion won (US$8.1 million) to former president Park Geun-hye and her associate, Choi Soon-il.

The heir-apparent was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison with four years of probation at sentencing at the appeal trials that began in October. The decision ruled in the Seoul High Court raises many questions and concerns regarding political and corporation power. Lee has not responded to the verdict.[26] Months later, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak pardoned Lee so he could remain on the International Olympic Committee. Samsung accounts for a considerable part of the South Korean economy. "Lee was portrayed as a key criminal in the downfall of a president impeached for the corruption, but the fact that he gets such a mild sentence means his offense must have been minor, and this, in turn, casts doubt on the fairness of the whole impeachment process".

In August 2017, Lee was convicted of bribery and embezzlement charges linked to a political -corporate scandal, which also involved the country's then president Park Geun-hye.

"The ruling could help Samsung recover its confidence and gain direction", said Bae Sang-kun, a senior official at the federation.

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Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong leaves the Seoul High Court on Monday.

Right after getting the suspended jail sentence, Lee smilingly got on a bus bound for the detention center, where he stayed for nearly a year. The court had also said that this isn't an example of a typical "cozy relationship between politics and business". With youth unemployment a serious social and political issue in Korea, this news may have been impactful.

Investors say Lee will face the daunting tasks of trying to find the right direction for growth and making big investment decisions, although Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest maker of semiconductors and smartphones, performed well with Lee behind bars for the past year.

Lee was seen bowing to court officials before leaving the court building with a smile on his face.

But the appeals court said Lee did not seek any help from Park. Another circus trial has concluded as most believed it would.

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