Samsung heir pardoned after serving time for bribery

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has granted a long-awaited pardon to Samsung heir and Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, which came into effect today.

Lee had already been released from prison on parole after spending 18 months in prison for corruption. The true value of the pardon lies in allowing Lee to engage in business activities at a time when South Korea faces COVID-related economic challenges.

“In order to overcome the economic crisis through economic revitalization, we will reinstate Samsung Electronics Vice President Lee Jae-yong, who recently ended his sentence,” reads the automatic translation of a government announcement published last Friday.

The conditions of Lee’s parole would have included five years of restrictions on his business activities. Forgiveness relegates these limits to the past.

Lee’s pardon was announced along with clemency for 1,693 others, to mark South Korea’s Independence Day – a day when the president traditionally offers clemency to business leaders and others. The leniency was announced in late July, when Prime Minister Han Duck-soo told parliament he would recommend action.

Lee became the head of Samsung after his father, Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack in 2014. The elder Lee died in 2020. The younger Lee retained his title of vice president throughout his incarceration.

Lee’s legal troubles don’t end with accusations of offering $38 million in bribes to people and businesses adjacent to President Park Geun-hye in 2017. Over the years, he has also ran into trouble because of alleged misrepresentations of his holdings in Samsung, accounting fraud, and drug addiction related to the anesthetic Propofol.

But none of that really matters when second-quarter PC sales slump and there are fears that the drop in sales could spread to enterprise segments, hurting the southern economy. -Korean. Although Samsung’s memory business was strong and server demand was high for the company’s final quarter – and is expected to remain so – Samsung’s large panel, Mobile eXperience and Visual Display businesses all experienced difficulties. The volatility of the global smartphone market is also worrying observers.

According to the intergovernmental organization and the statistical agency Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)South Korea experienced a strong rebound in 2021 which led to a slowdown in GDP growth in the first quarter of 2022. Growth for 2023 is expected to slow from 2022, but only from 2.7% to 2.5% .

These factors and statistics mean that the South Korean public largely approves of the pardon. According to a national barometer survey taken at the end of July this year, 77% of respondents approved – even as last summer 130 civic groups came together to to oppose such movements.

But Lee has would have has been involved in company affairs since his release from prison, actions that have been dismissed by some as inconsequential as he reportedly received no compensation for his work.

“I want to express my apologies for causing concern to many people because of my shortcomings. I will work even harder to fulfill my responsibilities and duties as a businessman,” Lee said in a statement. statement issued via Samsung regarding the grace. ®

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