A renowned South Korean Samsung beneficiary, Lee Jae Yong, was released on parole on Friday, Aug 13. He was in jail for 18 months, which was slightly over half of the former 30 months sentence.
Lee, a 53-year old man, is a third-generation beneficiary of a firm that offers financial, technological, and construction services to amusement parks, hospitals, soccer clubs, and baseball clubs. He is proclaimed to be the fourth wealthiest person in South Korea with a representation of around 20% of the country’s entire stock market value.
Arrest in 2017
The Samsung tycoon was first arrested on February 16 2017 where he faced charges of bribery, hiding assets overseas, perjury, and embezzlement. His case was generally based on corporate and political scandals where Park Geun-Hye, the former South Korean president, was involved.
The Samsung Company had been accused that they’ve paid two non-profit foundations a sum of 43 billion won. These were found out to be under his friend, Choi Soon-Sil. This deal would hypothetically make Lee the ultimate leader of the cooperation.
Currently, the former president is still serving a prison term of 22 years. She was convicted for demanding more than 20 million dollars from corporates, firing officials who resisted her orders, sharing secret state documents, and blacklisting artists critical of her policies.
Fortunately for Lee Jae Yong, the new law allows prisoners to opt for parole after serving 60% of their sentence. However, Lee is not on the loose yet. He is still under investigation for fraud and stock manipulation which could lead to another incarceration.
Current agreement for parole
The court released the Samsung heir to help the country recover economically from the Covid-19 pandemic. It was also a way of generating more computer chips which were currently low in number.
In return, Lee would have to follow strict conditions like five years of business restrictions and getting approvals for any trips abroad. He also needs the ministry’s permission to resume his business operations.
Even though, Lee’s absence did not affect the Samsung firm, major investment and mergers, and acquisition (M & M&A) projects were put on hold. This is because certain decisions could only be made by him. An example is the location of a 17 billion dollar U.S plant that produces advanced logic chips.
During the release of Lee, hundreds of demonstrators openly showed their dissatisfaction with the court’s decision. There were disagreements in public opinions which created questions on the fairness of South Korean laws. It showed that influential or family business leaders in the country are often treated generously. On the other hand, Lee offered an apology stating that he was sorry for inflicting concerns, criticism, and huge expectations on the people.
It is now evident that the incoming South Korean presidential election will be based on the ruling party for its economic resolution decisions, instead of its previous promises. Seemingly, senior politicians think that the new law is the best way to get corporate executives out of prison so that they can aid in economic matters.