Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee has been found guilty of perjury, embezzlement, and bribery and has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Jay Y. Lee (also known as Lee Jae-yong) has been at the helm of Samsung since his father Lee Kun-Hee suffered a heart attack in 2014.
The 49-year old was arrested in February when he was accused of paying bribes to former South Korea president Park Geun-hye and her advisor and friend Choi Soon-sil in exchange for political favors.
Lee was accused along with four other Samsung executives. He was found guilty by a Seoul court of bribery, embezzlement, and other chargers. The Seoul Central District Court said the Vice President of Samsung and other Samsung executives gave $36 million in bribes to Park’s secret advisor Choi Soon-sil.
Song Woo-cheo, a lawyer for Samsung vice president says the team will appeal the sentence.
Four Samsung executives that were also involved in the corruption scandal were convicted as well, and they have also received sentences up to for years.
No TVs were allowed inside the courtroom during the trial. Outside the court, many protesters gathered to give support to Jay Y. Lee and their former president Park Geun-hye.
Even though Jay Y. Lee faced up 12 years in prison, he is sentenced to five years. Many of the anti-corruption demonstrators who organized the rival protest during the trial think the verdict is too light.
“I think the court should have accepted prosecutors’ request for 12 years in prison,’ said a 37-year old teacher Choi Sukun. “Given the gravity of the case, I think the ruling is too generous.”
The sentence came in a big week for Samsung. It happened just two days after the launch of the Samsung’s latest flagship, Galaxy Note 8.
The entire Note series was questioned after the Note 7 fiasco. The previous model was discontinued after numerous reports of overheating and catching fire. Samsung’s newest flagship could redeem the company and might help it to leave the past behind.