Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World News

South Korea pardons Samsung boss ‘to help economy’

#South #Korea #pardons #Samsung #boss #economy

The heir and de facto leader of the Samsung Group received a presidential pardon on Friday, the latest example of South Korea’s long tradition of releasing business leaders convicted of corruption on economic grounds.

Billionaire Lee Jae-yong, who was convicted of bribery and embezzlement in January last year, will be “rehired” to give him a chance to “help overcome the country’s economic crisis,” Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon said.

Lee — the 278th richest person in the world with a net worth of $7.9 billion according to Forbes — was paroled in August 2021 after serving 18 months in prison, just over half his original sentence.

Friday’s pardon will allow him to fully return to work by lifting a five-year post-prison employment restriction.

“Due to the global economic crisis, the dynamism and vitality of the national economy have deteriorated and there are fears that the economic slump will continue,” said a statement from the Ministry of Justice.

The pardon was granted so that Lee –as well as other senior executives who were pardoned on Friday – could “lead the country’s continued engine of growth through active investment in technology and job creation,” the ministry added.

Lee, 54, was pardoned along with three other businessmen, including Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin, who was sentenced to a two-and-a-half-year suspended prison sentence in a 2018 bribery case.

A total of 1,693 people – including prisoners with terminal illnesses and those nearing the end of their sentences – were on the pardon list, the ministry said ahead of the annual Liberation Day anniversary on Monday.

The anniversary marks Japan’s surrender in World War II in 1945, which liberated Korea from decades of colonial rule, and is usually celebrated each year with the pardoning of hundreds of prisoners.

– Above the law? –

Lee is Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone maker. The total turnover of the conglomerate corresponds to about a fifth of South Korea’s gross domestic product.

He was jailed for offenses related to a massive corruption scandal that ousted former President Park Geun-hye.

There is a long history of high-level South Korean tycoons being charged with bribery, embezzlement, tax evasion or other offences.

But many of those convicted were later reduced or suspended on appeal, and some – including the late Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, who was convicted twice – received presidential pardons in recognition of their “contribution to the national economy.”

The giant Samsung group is by far the largest of the family-controlled empires known as chaebols, which dominate business in South Korea, the world’s 12th-largest economy.

President Yoon Suk-yeol said Friday the pardons are aimed at improving the lot of “ordinary people affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.”

“I hope this special pardon will give all South Koreans the opportunity to work together to overcome the economic crisis,” he added.

But analysts said the pardons simply made big businessmen feel “not constrained by any legal norms,” ​​Vladimir Tikhonov, a professor of Korean studies at the University of Oslo, told AFP.

“And the government is more or less doing its bidding and creating conditions for corporate capital accumulation,” he added.

– More legal issues –

Lee still faces a separate trial over accounting fraud allegations related to a 2015 merger of two Samsung companies.

In May, he was excused from a hearing in that trial to receive US President Joe Biden as he began a tour of South Korea that included a visit to Samsung’s chip factory with President Yoon.

His pardon comes after Samsung unveiled a 450 trillion won ($356 billion) investment plan over the next five years aimed at making the company one in a variety of sectors — from semiconductors to biologics Leading the way and creating 80,000 new jobs.

The company also employs about 20,000 people in the United States and is working to build a new semiconductor plant in Texas, scheduled to open in 2024.

But Lee’s imprisonment wasn’t a hindrance to the company’s performance — it announced a more than 70 percent increase in second-quarter profit in July last year, with a coronavirus-induced shift to remote work spurring demand for devices using its memory chips.

“Samsung worked perfectly without mercy,” Tikhonov told AFP.

“The pardon weakens the rule of law, which may be more detrimental than beneficial to the functioning of a market-based economy.”

Social Tags:
#South #Korea #pardons #Samsung #boss #economy

You May Also Like


State would join dozens of others in enacting legislation based on federal government’s landmark whistleblower statute, the False Claims Act

press release

With a deep understanding of the latest tech, Erbo helps businesses flourish in a digital world.

press release

#Automotive #Carbon #Canister #Market #Projected #Hit #USD New York, US, Oct. 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —  According to a comprehensive research report by Market...

press release

Barrington Research Analyst James C.Goss reiterated an Outperform rating on shares of IMAX Corp IMAX with a Price target of $20. As theaters...