Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong jailed for corruption

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Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong jailed for corruption

Courtroom 417 is also where Lee's father, Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, stood trial in 2008 on charges of evading taxes and illegally transferring company assets to his son and heir.

A South Korean court has handed down a five-year sentence to Samsung's heir apparent Lee Jae-yong in an ongoing corruption scandal.

What's Lee going to jail for?

The ruling is likely to deal a heavy blow to former President Park and her friend Choi, who are at the center of the corruption scandal that drove millions of Koreans into the streets last winter and eventually removed Park from office.

The merger was approved, but according to the USA -based National Public Radio (NPR) while it was good for the family it was widely seen as not favorable for shareholders. Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, who has also been charged with bribery, even received special court permission to attend the soiree.

The court also said Lee was guilty of embezzling 6.4 billion won ($5.67 million), reports the Times.

Attorneys for Samsung say they will be appealing the sentence, but Lee remains in custody as he has since his arrest. Lee has been incarcerated for months as his trial has gone on. But that prospect doesn't seem to be hurting Samsung's massive electronics business. The company has been a worldwide sponsor since 1998 in the mobile phone category.

At that time, 40 conglomerates controlled half or more of South Korea's industrial output.

Lee Jae-yong, the billionaire scion of South Korea's most powerful business dynasty, is set to discover his fate Friday.

The case, which South Korean press labelled the "trial of the century", is thought to have spooked investors who are concerned that a power vacuum may prevent the company and its subsidiaries from making decisions. Chaebol literally translates to "wealth clan".

South Korea is no stranger to political corruption scandals, but this one has riveted South Koreans who, increasingly, are demanding accountability from political and business leaders, regardless of the impact it might have on the national economy. But in recent years, the public has grown critical of how easily chaebols seem to get out of trouble.

Under Lee's father, Lee Kun-hee, Samsung became known as a high-tech giant, famous for its phones and televisions.

Lee's lawyers said he will appeal. They have maintained he was innocent and didn't know about the money being funneled while he was at the helm.

Supporters of the former president rallied outside court to demand Lee's acquittal.

The demonstrators who mounted giant candlelit protests against Park Geun-Hye a year ago also targeted Lee and other chiefs of the chaebols, as the family-controlled conglomerates that dominate Asia's fourth-largest economy are known.

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