Seoul, Aug 25: A South Korean court on Friday sentenced Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to five years in prison, finding him guilty of bribery and embezzlement in a massive corruption scandal that led to the ouster of former President Park Geun-hye.
The Seoul Central District Court handed down the verdict, saying Lee, 49, is believed to have been involved in Samsung’s provision of 7.2 billion won ($6 million) in bribes for the equestrian training of the daughter of Park’s longtime friend and confidante Choi Soon-sil.
Lee, who has been under detention since February, was also convicted of embezzlement, hiding assets overseas and perjury, all stemming from the corruption scandal that forced Park out of office on March 10, reports Yonhap News Agency.
“The crux of this case is close collusion between political and capital powers,” the court said in the verdict.
“It appears to be difficult for the people to recover from disappointment in that collusive ties between the President and a large conglomerate existed not in the past, but in the present.”
Earlier, prosecutors had demanded a 12-year-jail term for Lee on charges that he offered or pledged a total of 43.3 billion won at the request of Park to organisations under the control of Choi.
In return for the bribes, prosecutors have alleged, Lee won the government’s approval for a merger between two Samsung subsidiaries under terms designed to increase his control over the entire Samsung empire so as to cement a power transfer from his ailing father Lee Kun-hee.
Lee has denied the charges and is expected to appeal the decision.
Four other former top Samsung executives were also convicted. (IANS)