Samsung is in the spotlight again, but not due to its phones or any form of clash with Apple. It’s all about the company’s acting CEO and the possibility he could spend 12 years in prison for bribery charges. His name is Lee Jae-yong, and he’s officially the vice president of the South Korean giant.
Lee Jae-yong was charged back in February of 2017 and spent a month in jail. However, his alleged activities that caused that caused South Korea’s former president, Park Geun-hye to be removed from office, may be his undoing.
A report from The Guardian claims South Korean prosecutors are seeking the maximum sentence due to the possibility of Samsung’s involvement with the government. Interestingly enough, it seems the government usually gets itself in deep pockets with powerful family-controlled companies in South Korea, which has always been a major problem.
The Guardian notes that Samsung’s revenue is almost a fifth of South Korea’s GDP, which goes to show the amount of power the electronic giant holds in the country.
How Lee became leading man at Samsung
A few years ago, his father, Lee Kun-hee, who is also president of Samsung, suffered a heart attack and was forced to hand over most of the responsibilities. Lee Jae-yong says in court: “I have never asked anyone, including the president, for anything for the company or my personal gain.”
He went on to add that Samsung has grown more powerful since the trial due to high expectations from society and the public.
Now, no one knows for certain what actually happened, but it is alleged that Lee offered up to $38 million in bribes to four foundations, which were created to support the former President Park and her policies. Additionally, after the bribes, Lee went on to gain government approval for the merger of two companies in 2015.
The Guardian says the mergers overall cost the South Korean giant $8 billion. Interestingly enough, the need to merge with one of the companies did not go down well with shareholders but was passed nonetheless due to overwhelming support from the government’s national pension fund.
Lee is innocent according to lawyers
Lawyers working for Lee have stated that the prosecution has failed to deliver tangible evidence linking their client to the accusations. If this is true, then chances are, Lee may never spend a day in prison. However, his reputation could be tarnished to the point of him stepping down from his position.
As for the former president who was impeached from office, well, she’s facing a possible life in prison ruling for alleged bribery, coercion, and much more. She took office in 2012 as South Korea’s first female president, and her final days in office sparked months of mass protests across the nation.