Samsung heir found guilty of corruption, sentenced to five years in prison

Samsung heir found guilty of corruption, sentenced to five years in prison

The Seoul Central District Court said Samsung's financial support of entities backed by Park's close friend, Choi Soon-sil, constituted bribery, including 7.2 billion won ($6.4 million) in sponsoring the equestrian career of Choi's daughter.

Lee denied the charges - which included bribery, embezzlement, perjury, concealment of criminal proceeds, and illicit transfer of assets overseas - but has been found guilty by South Korea's courts and sentenced to five years imprisonment, lower than the 12-year sentence requested by the prosecution.

The prosecution team were succesful in presenting enough evidence to prove that Lee along other Samsung officials bribed the government for meeting their personal and official needs.

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.

Choi has already been jailed for three years for corruption.

Prosecutors alleged that Lee offered a total of $38 million to gain government approval of a merger between two Samsung subsidiaries that was aimed at extending his control over the tech giant, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap. Lee guilty on all charges.

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The conviction of Yong could lead to more trouble for Park as she faces a possible life sentence when a judgment or ruling in her case is given later this year.

The court's decision also contradicted Samsung's officially stated position that its recent merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T had nothing to do with the passing of the mantle to Lee from his late father, and was merely about creating businesses synergies.

Lee had been accused of giving sizeable donations to non-profit foundations operated by Choi - crony of impeached president Park Geun-hye.

Lee was sentenced to five years in prison Friday - a shorter term than prosecutors sought in the so-called "trial of the century". In fact, the convicted Samsung heir's father was himself involved in a massive case of tax fraud in early 2009. Four other Samsung executives were implicated in the conspiracy.

Samsung shares fell by 1.5 percent following the verdict.

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