Samsung heir jailed for 5 yrs for bribery

Lee Jae-yong vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co. arrives for his trial at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul South Korea

Lee Jae-yong vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co. arrives for his trial at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul South Korea

The heir to the Samsung business empire Lee Jae-Yong was convicted Friday of all five charges at his trial in connection with the scandal that brought down president Park Geun-Hye.

Lee was found guilty of approving donations to Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, in return for securing government support for the contentious merger of two Samsung affiliates that would strengthen his control over the group.

Lee was found guilty of all five charges that he had to face, including bribery, embezzlement, concealment of criminal proceeds, illegal transfer of assets overseas and perjury. The court will also sentence former Samsung executive Choi Gee-sung, who seems to have been trying to take the fall for his boss, and others.

The ruling in Lee's case can be appealed against twice.

Nevertheless, it is still the longest prison sentence given to any South Korean business leader, who have historically received light sentences for corruption.

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In addition to the Samsung Heir, four of the company's executives were revealed to have been involved in illicit activities. The scandal also saw the impeachment of South Korea's former president.

The court also said Lee was guilty of embezzling 6.4 billion won ($5.67 million), reports the Times.

The lawyers of Lee insisted that the payments were signed off without his knowledge and they would appeal against the court's decision - under South Korean law, sentences of more than three years can not be suspended.

Former president Park who was forced from office over the scandal is facing her own corruption trail with a ruling expected later this year. Further, the move expanded his power over Samsung Electronics, the division in charge of its phones, TVs and other devices, which is considered the chaebol's top earner. Samsung was once a company which was nearly single-handedly responsible for the economic upheaval of South Korea following the Korean War.

"He was set to benefit most from the succession work, which was part of the favours sought from the president", said Kim Jin-dong, the head judge. Remember, the elder Lee had been previously convicted of tax evasion and bribery, only to be later pardoned - twice.

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