Aug 12, 2022

Lee Jae-yong: Why did South Korea pardon the Samsung 'prince'?

One of South Korea's most powerful white collar criminals, Lee was twice imprisoned for bribing a former president. Lee's crimes were directly tied up in the corruption scandal that led to the imprisonment of former president Park Geun-Hye, in office from 2013-2017.The "Crown Prince of Samsung" - as he was dubbed by protesters - paid $8 million in bribes to President Park and her associate to secure support for a merger opposed by shareholders that would shore up his control of his family's empire. Lee, who is also known as Jay Y Lee in the West, was jailed a year later for offences including embezzling company funds to buy a $800,000 horse for the president's friend's daughter. Mr Lee's own father, Lee Kun-hee was convicted of bribery and fraud in the 1990s when he was Samsung chairman. "The pardoning of chaebol controllers has not contributed to economic growth or turnaround historically," said Prof Park.Analysts say Samsung has fared perfectly well while Lee has been in and out of prison.

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