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Samsung's Lee Gets 5-year Prison Term For Bribery

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Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was sentenced by a Seoul court to five years in prison on Friday after finding him guilty of bribery, perjury, embezzlement and other charges, according to media reports.

The sentencing comes after a trial where Lee was found guilty of paying bribes in order to gain government favors for South Korea's largest chaebol, or family-run conglomerate. The massive corruption scandal also led to the ouster of former South Korean President Park Guen-hye.

Prosecutors had demanded that Lee be handed a 12-year jail term for giving or promising as much as 43 billion won in bribes to benefit Park's long-time friend and confidante Choi Soon-Sil, in exchange for government support of his management succession.

The 49-year-old Lee is alleged to have funded Park's associates as he tried to consolidate control over the sprawling conglomerate founded by his grandfather.

Lee, who has been held in detention since February, was also convicted of embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, concealment of criminal proceeds and perjury, all stemming from the corruption scandal.

Lee has reportedly denied all charges against him and is expected to appeal the decision. Four other former top Samsung executives were also convicted.

Nevertheless, the verdict is one of the heaviest ever to be handed out to the head of a major chaebol in South Korea.

In the past, several corruption cases against owners of these chaebols have been suspended or these tycoons were sentenced to only light prison terms, citing their contribution to the South Korean economy.

Shares of Samsung Electronics closed down 1.05 percent, following the news.

by RTT Staff Writer

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