Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong has just been released from prison with a presidential pardon and immediately became the company's chairman.
Samsung Electronics has and officially new executive chairman. The heir to the Samsung empire, Lee Jae-yong (also known as Jay Y. Lee), ascended the throne of the world's largest chip maker on Thursday.
Samsung announced its enthronement alongside its Q2022 XNUMX earnings report, which it likely hopes will distract from the 23% decrease in profits compared to the previous quarter.
Lee Jae-yong has been Samsung's de facto leader for several years, so his appointment is mostly formal. Former Samsung chairman and Lee's father, Lee Kun-hee, died in 2020, but before that he was incapacitated for years after suffering a heart attack in 2014.
Lee's ascension to the presidency was always expected, but had been delayed by numerous legal issues surrounding the scandal.Choi-gate". It is a South Korean political scandal involving bribes to Choi-Soon-sil, who was a shaman and had influence on the then president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye.
Lee's role in the scandal included bribing Choi to persuade Chairman Park to approve the merger of two Samsung Group subsidiaries. Lee was initially sentenced to five years in prison, while Park was impeached and removed from office.
Imagine that the family that founded Samsung is so full of drama and scandal that once NBC thought to base a television drama series on it. Something like our own Dragon and Virna in "Shine" by Nikos Foskolos.
The Samsung empire is responsible for about 20 percent of South Korea's gross domestic product, and apparently that's why the country is particularly forgiving with the top executives of its businesses. An appeal and retrial reduced Lee's five-year prison sentence to 30 months, and after he eventually served 18 months of that sentence, Lee was released on parole.
Lee technically couldn't work at Samsung while on parole, but that didn't stop him from making a pitch to President Biden in May a tour of the facilities.
In August, Lee received a presidential pardon, ending the parole status he was on, and clearing the way for him to assume the presidency.
But he is not the only "criminal" at the wheel of Samsung. And the elder Lee (his father) was convicted of bribery in 1996 and of tax evasion and breach of trust in 2009, but in both cases he was never arrested, served no prison time, and later received a presidential pardon.
The official title of chairman and the ability to officially work at Samsung again gives Lee more political influence to make bigger moves and strategic decisions.
The new president's legal troubles are not necessarily over. Lee still faces another trial for stock price manipulation and accounting fraud.
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