International

Samsung Vice-Chair Appeals Bribery Conviction

Samsung Electronics vice chairman Jay Y. Lee is looking to appeal the five-year jail term he was recently given for bribery and other charges.  Lee was sentenced to five years last Friday.

The sentencing of the billionaire scion was a watershed for South Korea’s decades-long economic order.

The 49-year-old Lee is heir to one of the world’s biggest corporate empires, and is charged in connection with allegations that he attempted to bribe then-president Park Geun-hye to help him secure control of the conglomerate that owns Samsung Electronics, the world’s leading smartphone and chip maker.

Under Korean law, Lee can be kept in detention for a maximum of four months while a court considers his appeal.

“I believe all of you must be devastated by the lower court ruling ...We management are also distressed,” Samsung Electronics chief executive officer Kwon Oh-hyun noted in a note to employees. “Please do the best you can where you are ...We management will also lead the way in overcoming the crisis with uncommon resolve.”

The charges have taken a bit out of Samsung's share price — stocks dropped 2 percent Friday.

“Reports from S&P and Fitch over the weekend prompted worries among foreign investors, triggering them to unload more shares today than they did on Friday,” said Kim Ye-eun, a stock analyst at Cape Investment and Securities. “The leadership vacuum may not have short-term effect, but in the long-term, it is a serious problem.”

Samsung Electronics said in a statement that Lee will keep his status as a member of the firm’s board of directors “unless there is a final determination of guilt.”

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