The giant de facto leader of the giant Temple Samsung group was released on parole on Friday, a fresh example of South Korea’s long tradition of releasing business leaders jailed on economic grounds for corruption or tax evasion.
According to Forbes, Lee Jae-young, the 202nd richest man in the world, was serving two and a half years in prison for bribery, embezzlement and other crimes worth 11 11.4 billion. Corruption scandal that brought down former South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
But in recent months, demands for his early release have grown from both politicians and business leaders, who have claimed that there is a potential leadership gap in the largest party in the South.
The Justice Department announced Monday that it had received about 800 initial releases – citing concerns about the impact of the corona virus epidemic on the economy.
Lee, 53, bowed to reporters waiting outside a detention center south of Seoul and told them: “I’ve caused a lot of concern for people. I’m really sorry.”
Wearing a black suit, he added: “I’m listening carefully to your concerns, criticisms, concerns and high expectations of me,” before he was driven away in a black limousine.
Lee was first jailed for five years in 2017, then the following year when an appeals court rejected most of his bribery charges and suspended him.
But the Supreme Court later ordered a retrial, which convicted him and sent him back to prison.
However, Lee Stock is on trial for alleged manipulation that made his way to take control of the family party more effective.
South Korean tycoon Shiboul has a long history of being accused of bribery, embezzlement, tax evasion or other crimes.
But many of those convicted have had their sentences reduced or suspended after appeals, some of them – including former Samsung chairman Lee Hsien Loong, who was twice convicted – for “contributing to the national economy.” “I received a presidential pardon in recognition of this.
“This is undoubtedly a preferential treatment, especially since a separate trial is ongoing,” Song Wan Kevin, a professor of economics at Giangsang National University, told AFP.
Only 0.3 percent of all offenders released on parole between 2011 and 2020 served less than 70 percent of their prison term, according to Justice Ministry figures.
But a change in rule came into effect this month that inmates must reduce their sentences by 60 percent before they can be paroled.
The world’s 12th-largest economy, South Korea is home to the largest Samsung Group of Family-controlled empires.
Its flagship subsidiary Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest smartphone maker.
The Chebul families often have only a small stake in their empires, but maintain control through complex networks of cross-shareholding between units.
Lee promised last year to end the line of family succession at the firm, saying he would not give his children his role because he had bowed to apologize for several disputes.
His imprisonment has not been a hindrance to the firm’s performance – it announced a more than 70% increase in second-quarter profits last month, in which home-based coronaviruses worked to make its memory chips more accessible. Increase demand for equipment.
Regardless, the country’s top four groups – SK Group, Hyundai Motor Group, LG Group and Samsung – met with President Moon Jae-in in June to press for Lee’s pardon.
A growing number of South Koreans voted in favor of parole, with more than 66 percent of respondents polled in a recent real meter poll.
But Vladimir Tekonov, a professor of Korean studies at the University of Oslo, took a different view.
“His release does not follow the usual rules of law enforcement and shows that his wealth could be a factor,” he told AFP.
“It’s a separation from the idea that everyone is equal before the law.”
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