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Samsung's Lee Appeals Bribery Case Ruling

Samsung's Lee Appeals Bribery Case Ruling

"In response to the president's active demands, it seems that Samsung Group passively offered bribes", the court said, adding such requests were made during three one-on-one meetings between Park and Lee. Instead, at the end of a year ago Lee was implicated in a massive political scandal that culminated in President Park Geun-hye's ouster.

The court also found Lee guilty of hiding assets overseas, embezzlement and perjury. Prosecutors had demanded a 12-year jail term for him on charges of offering or pledging 43.3 billion won of bribes to win the government's approval for a merger of two Samsung units under terms created to increase his control over the entire empire so as to cement a power transfer from his ailing father Lee Kun-hee. Lee has been accused of offering bribes of 38 million Dollars for various departments after the death of his father.

Samsung has also been refraining from making changes in executive posts since the hospitalization of Lee Kun-hee, the head of the Samsung empire, in 2014.

South Korean media were divided Monday over the jailing of the heir to the Samsung empire, with some newspapers condemning the ruling and others accusing rivals of "kneeling" before the rich.

"We hope this will be the first step in cutting the stubborn ties of corruption between politics and business, which has been a roadblock to progress in our society", said Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary at the Blue House, the South Korean president's executive office and residence.

A hasty attempt to trade Chung's horse for another to hide the paper trail when the scandal unraveled in autumn past year was ruled as aiding Choi's attempts to conceal criminal proceeds.

Lee's attorneys immediately said they would appeal, and experts said it would likely go all the way to the country's supreme court. The company has successfully weathered past crises that include two recalls of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones prone to catch fire and Lee's arrest.

Lee Jae Yong's father, who remains Samsung chairman, was previously convicted of bribery, tax and other offences himself, and the scion's grandfather also had brushes with the law, but neither was ever jailed.

Lee's imprisonment as an "unprecedented challenge" and encouraged staff to continue working hard as they wait for "the truth to come to light".

Ex-President Park has argued that she had not forced firms to donate money to the Choi-controlled entities and she had not shared any economic benefits with Choi. Twice convicted of tax evasion and bribery, the elder Lee never spent any time in prison. Instead, Samsung has insisted that a merger of two Samsung companies at the centre of the scandal was about creating business benefits.

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