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Samsung de facto leader Lee Jae-yong receives special pardon from South Korean president

Vice President and de facto leader of Samsung Electronics Lee Jae-yong was given a special pardon on Friday by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol ahead of the country’s Liberation Day, which marks South Korea’s liberation. Japanese imperial rule in 1945, according to the country’s Ministry of Justice.

The South Korean government often grants pardons around Liberation Day.

Lee, also known as Jay Y. Lee, had been sentenced to five years in prison for embezzlement and bribery in August 2017, but walked free after less than a year in 2018 when an appeals court threw out some of the charges. and suspended the sentence.

However, Lee was sent back to prison in January 2021 after being sentenced to two and a half years without suspension after the Seoul High Court found him guilty.

He was paroled in August 2021 on the same occasion, Liberation Day.

Along with Lee, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin and two other business leaders were included in the pardoned or reinstated group by Chairman Yoon Suk Yeol.

South Korea’s Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon said on Friday: “In order to overcome the economic crisis by revitalizing the economy, Samsung Vice President Lee Jae-yong, whose term recently ended, will be reinstated.”

According to the law, if a person is convicted of embezzlement or breach of trust worth more than 500 million Korean won (about US$385,500), that person cannot work for a company related to the crime for five years. , even after completion of the prison sentence. The reinstatement will lift the five-year employment restrictions for Lee.

Vice President Lee Jae-yong has been undergoing a separate trial since last April over the merger between Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T in 2015. Lee has been attending weekly court sessions since the start of the trial.

It is widely believed that the merger helped Lee’s succession from his late father, Lee Kun-hee. The merger was carried out in a way that reportedly benefited the younger Lee and allowed him to gain tighter control of Samsung Electronics, Samsung’s flagship company.

The allegations include illegal trading, stock price manipulation and violation of laws on external audits for the 2015 merger and accounting fraud of Samsung Biologics, at the time a subsidiary of Cheil Industries.

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