Bribery takes Samsung vice chairman Jay Y. Lee 5 years in prison  
Thou Sok (6 articles)
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Bribery takes Samsung vice chairman Jay Y. Lee 5 years in prison  

Samsung leader was sentenced to 5 years for graft conviction on Friday after a six-month trail.

Lee, the 49-year-old heir to one of the world's biggest corporate empires, has been held since February on charges that he bribed Park to help secure control of a conglomerate that owns Samsung Electronics, the world's leading smartphone and chip maker, and has interests ranging from drugs and home appliances to insurance and hotels.

Through hundreds of hours of testimony from dozens of witnesses, prosecutors sought to draw a link between backing from a state-run pension for a 2015 merger of Samsung affiliates and money paid to a confidante of then President Park Geun-hye, including an $800,000 horse for the friend’s daughter.

Samsung, founded in 1938 by Lee's grandfather, is a household name in South Korea and a symbol of the country's dramatic rise from poverty following the 1950-53 Korean War.

But over the years, it has also come to epitomize the cosey ties between politicians and powerful family-controlled business groups - or chaebols - which have been implicated in a series of corruption scandals.

South Koreans, who once applauded the chaebols for catapulting the country into a global economic power, now criticize them for holding back the economy and squeezing smaller businesses.

South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who replaced the Park after a May 9 election, has pledged to rein in the chaebols, empower minority shareholders and end the practice of pardoning corporate tycoons convicted of white-collar crime.

Thou Sok

Thou Sok

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