A South Korean court has found Lee Jae-yong, the de facto chief of the sprawling Samsung business empire, guilty of bribery and other corruption charges.
Lee, the billionaire son of Samsung’s ailing chairman, was sentenced to five years in prison yesterday, well short of the 12-year sentence prosecutors had sought.
The criminal conviction is a blow for Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker and South Korea’s biggest family-run conglomerate whose businesses are estimated to account for around 15% of the country’s entire economy.
The so-called “trial of the century” has gripped South Korea for months.
“The public is disappointed that this kind of large-scale crime caused by cozy relations between politics and business still happens – it’s not in the past but remains a reality,” Judge Kim Jin-dong said in court.
He also laid some of the blame on Park, saying the former president made “aggressive demands” of Samsung.