Samsung heir ordered back to prison on bribery charge

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Lee Jae-yong — known as Jay Y. Lee in the West — the de facto leader and heir to the Samsung Group conglomerate, has been ordered back to prison for two years and six months on bribery charges, according to Bloomberg.

The billionaire son of controversial Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, who died in October, was first jailed in 2017 in a succession scandal that saw the removal of former president Park Geun-hye. Lee served just one year of a five-year sentence before a retrial was ordered in 2019. Park is serving a 20-year sentence on a variety of charges including bribery related to Samsung.

Lee had been accused of offering horses and other bribes to a friend of the former president to win government support for his succession at Samsung.

In December, Lee offered a rare public apology for his role in the succession plot. He also pledged that he would not pass management control of the Korean dynasty to his children. Lee is the grandson of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul.

The ruling is expected to create a leadership vacuum at the top of the conglomerate, potentially complicating major strategic decisions. Samsung is currently run by a team of senior executives.

An attorney for Lee called the decision “regrettable,” according to Bloomberg.

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