Samsung vice chairman and the company’s heir apparent Jay Y. Lee is headed to jail after a court in Korean ruled that he is guilty of bribery, embezzlement, capital flight and perjury charges.
Lee, who has been earmarked as the future leader of the company, was handed a five-year jail sentence, although he is expected to appeal the decision. He took a board seat at Samsung last year in a move that symbolized his ascension and the expectation that Lee would replace his father Lee Kun-Hee, who has been hospitalized for over two years since suffering a heart attack, at the helm of the corporation.
This verdict, which comes just days after Samsung launched its impressive new Galaxy Note 8 flagship phone, obviously throws Lee’s future at the company into question.
The executive was arrested in February when he was accused of paying bribes to an advisor of former President Park Geun-hye in exchange for political favors.
The New York Times reported that he is alleged to have given a total of $36 million to Park’s secret advisor in order to win government support for a merger between two Samsung subsidiaries. Park, Korea’s first female leader, was impeached and removed from office due to the influence of her aides.