On Monday (18/1), a judge at the Seoul High Court of South Korea gave a verdict on Samsung boss Jay Y. Lee, namely a prison sentence of 2.5 years . Lee stumbled on a corruption case, namely the bribery of the previous South Korean President Park Geun-Hye.
Previously, in 2017, Lee had also stumbled on the same case. However he denied all charges and filed an appeal. He won the appeal and released after a year in prison.
But South Korea’s Supreme Court later sent the case back to the Seoul High Court, which ruled on the sentence. Meanwhile, the public prosecutor has submitted a nine-year sentence in this case.
Meanwhile public sentiment has turned in favor of the chaebols. Moreover many citizens want to see Lee lead Samsung’s business empire decisively as it navigates increasingly intense global competition and pressure to innovate.
A Petition Called on Lee to Remain Free
A petition signed by 57,440 members of the public and filed with the presidency praised Samsung as “the pride of South Korea”. And called on Lee to remain free and run a company that pays so much in taxes and provides so many jobs.
“Any absence (including Lee’s absence) could influence Samsung to take a big deal to get ahead of the competition in the field it is trying to develop. Perhaps buying a competitor that is struggling in contract chip manufacturing, for example,” said Lee Jae-yun, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea.
Under South Korean law can suspend prison sentences of three years or less. However, for a longer sentence, the convicted party must serve a term of office unless he is pardoned by the president.
This is not the first thing that has happened to the Samsung family of owners. Previously, there was a bribery case in 1996 toward Lee’s father. And also tax evasion in 2008.
But he never served a prison sentence and ended up getting a presidential pardon in the form of a leniency usually presented to business leaders who significantly lift the country’s economy.