Uiwang, South Korea — Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, convicted of bribery and embezzlement, left prison on parole on Friday, and the South Korean president asks the public to understand his controversial release. I called.
Widespread support for his parole grew in fear that without him major strategic decisions would not have been made by the world’s largest memory chip and smartphone makers. President Moon Jae-in’s office said the decision to release Mr Lee was in the national interest.
However, civic groups have accused his parole of being another sign of generosity for the country’s business elite and undermining its judicial system.
Lee, 53, appeared outside the Seoul detention center, wore a dark gray suit, and was much thinner than when he was last detained in January. He was convicted of bribing a friend of former President Park Geun-hye and sentenced him to an 18-month modified 30-month sentence.
“I have raised a lot of concern for people. I deeply apologize,” Lee told reporters. “I listen to concerns, criticisms, worries, and high expectations for me. I will do my best.”
After his release, he went straight to Samsung headquarters.
Koreans have long had anxious relationships with the founding families of the national conglomerate, between their many privileges and anger at scandals and the recognition that conglomerates are also responsible for much of the country’s economic success. I’m coming and going.
“We are well aware that there are pros and cons to the parole of Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee. The views of those who oppose it are also correct,” he said.
“On the other hand, there were many who demanded his parole in this serious crisis, hoping to help the country with regards to semiconductors and vaccines.”
A big decision is waiting
Business leaders and some lawmakers argued that Lee had sufficient influence abroad to help South Korea obtain more COVID-19 vaccines.
Samsung needs to take the lead to stay competitive in the chips sector in the face of a global shortage and when rivals like TSMC and Intel Corporation are making large investments There is also growing concern that there is.
One of the decisions Lee is expected to make is the final call for a $ 17 billion US factory location to produce advanced logic chips.
Samsung has three CEOs in charge of major divisions and is not affected by Lee’s absence on day-to-day operations, but according to corporate sources, only Lee makes large-scale investment and M & A decisions. Should be.
However, although a formal decision is expected, Lee needs to get approval from another Ministry of Justice before resuming work.
Samsung fulfilled Lee’s promise on Thursday in a symbolic move that emerged around the same time as his release, the first with four corporate unions to ensure office regulations and union activities take place. Announced that it has signed the agreement. It is allowed.
Lee Seung-yuop first served a year in prison for five years from August 2017, but was later suspended. He was then sent back to prison in January of this year, although the ruling was overturned and the ruling was shortened.
His parole came after the Ministry of Justice relaxed the eligibility guidelines for the first offender to do good deeds like Lee to about 60 percent of his sentence last month. The average eligibility time for all Korean criminals was 80 percent before mitigation.
Lee still has other legal issues to address. He has also been charged with fraudulent accounting and stock manipulation in connection with the merger of Samsung’s two companies in 2015. The first hearing of another case accused of his illegal use of sedatives is scheduled for September 7.
Lee denied the charges in both cases.
Kim Do Kyun and Joyce Lee