February 05, 2018 10:56
Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong faces an appeals sentence at the Seoul High Court on Monday afternoon that he hopes will reduce his five-year jail term for bribing ex-president Park Geun-hye and embezzling company funds.
In August last year a lower court sentenced Lee to five years behind bars for giving or pledging W8.9 billion in bribes to Park and her confidante Choi Soon-sil (US$1=W1,1085).
This includes W7.29 billion in support for equestrian training of Choi's daughter Chung Yoo-ra and W1.62 billion in donations to a winter sports foundation run by Choi's niece Jang Si-ho.
Lee argues that they extorted the money from the conglomerate and he did not expect any favors in return.
Park has submitted a handwritten letter to the Seoul High Court claiming that she neither received a request for favors from Lee nor asked him to help Choi and her daughter.
Prosecutors say Park offered to ensure the smooth transfer of management control over the Samsung empire from comatose chairman Lee Kun-hee to his son Jae-yong, and pressured the state-run pension fund, a major Samsung shareholder, to approve a merger of two subsidiaries that made this possible.
A lighter sentence on a appeal could have a major impact on the leadership vacuum at Samsung, which has been dragging on for almost a year while Lee has been in jail.
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