Samsung heir walks free after appeals court quashes bribery charges

Lee Jae-yong to challenge remaining corruption allegations

By Kat Hall


The heir to Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, has been freed with a suspended sentence after spending a year in jail on charges of offering bribes to the disgraced former president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye.

Last year, Lee was sentenced to five years behind bars for corruption after a six-month trial.

He had been charged with offering $38m (£27m) in bribes to the former president, who is being held in a detention centre, and her confidant Choi Soon-sil in the hope of receiving favours. The Seoul court had also found him guilty of hiding assets abroad, embezzlement and perjury.

But today Seoul's appeals court rejected most of the bribery charges against Lee. However, it still found him guilty of giving 3.6bn won (£2.3m) for equestrian training of Choi's daughter and embezzling Samsung funds.

The appeals court halved Lee's sentence to two-and-a-half years, suspended for four years. It said Samsung had not sought any favours from Park Geun-hye.

"This is a case where Ms Park intimidated Samsung's management and her friend pursued personal interests," the court said in the ruling. "The defendant passively offered bribes because he could not easily turn down their request."

Lee will appeal the remaining bribery charges at the country's supreme court.

The ruling means Lee will be able to return to the helm of the electronics conglomerate.

Just last week, Samsung posted bumper annual results on the back of high memory chip demand, with yearly operating profit up 83 per cent to 53.7 trillion won (£35.4bn). ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily


More from The Register

Grandmaster flash Samsung dominated SSD market in 3Q2018

Plus: PC, notebook hard drive ships set to be eclipsed by flash

Samsung's sleek 'n' sporty X5 SSD pledges blazing transfer speeds

Portable drive harnesses NVMe and Thunderbolt 3

Samsung claims key-value Z-SSD will be fastest flash ever

Plus: 7nm LLP, QLC, stacked RDIMMS and brainy drives

By gum: Supermicro's Samsung storage ruler server uses secret SSD

Analysis 10 million IOPS, half a petabyte, one U – hella fast

Samsung preps for Z-SSD smackdown on Intel Optane drives

February reveal for wannabe XPoint killer

Sorry, Samsung. Seems nobody is immune to peak smartphone

Chaebol warns operating profit to fall 29%

Hot NAND: Samsung wheels out 30TB SSD monster

It's another whopper: Fabulous capacity or blast radius nightmare

Fee, Fi, bring your own one... Google opens up Project Fi to mobes built by Apple, LG, Samsung

Beware, some features are missing depending on which smartie you use

One UI to end gropes: Samsung facelift crowns your thumb the king

Everything within reach on oversized phones

LG: Fsck everything, we're doing 16 lenses in smartphones (probably)

How do we make mobes take better snaps? Throw a buttload of sensors at 'em, judging from this patent