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Samsung's leading official sentenced to jail

3 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Monday, January 18 2021 Jan 18, 2021 January 18, 2021 7:29 AM January 18, 2021 in News
Source: CNN
Lee Jae-yong

A leading Samsung official will be behind bars for two and a half years, leaving many to wonder who will take the helm in guiding the billion-dollar company into 2021 and beyond.

According to CNN, the tech company's vice chairman, Lee Jae-yong, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on Monday (Jan. 18) by The Seoul High Court in South Korea. Lee was found guilty of embezzlement and bribery and taken into custody following the verdict.

Lee, also known as Jay Y. Lee, was caught up in a massive influence-peddling scandal that brought down the government of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, CNN reports. Park was sentenced to nearly two decades in prison in connection with the case.

Lee, meanwhile, was found guilty of bribery and other corruption charges in 2017, and convicted to five years in prison at the time. But he was set free after less than a year when an appeals court threw out some of the charges and suspended his sentence.

This latest sentence on Monday was the result of a retrial ordered by the country's Supreme Court.

Lee's father Lee Kun-hee, Samsung's chairman, died last year. He'd suffered a heart attack that left him comatose since 2014 but remained titular chairman of the company. All the while, however, his son had been acting as Samsung's de facto leader.

But this son, now jailed for two years also faces a separate trial over a controversial 2015 merger that helped him tighten control over the company. Eleven executives from Samsung, including Lee, were indicted last year on charges including illegal transactions, stock manipulation, and perjury. CNN says that case is still pending.

It remains to be seen who will take the reins in leading the company.

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