After being charged with fraud and resigning as head of the Samsung Group, Lee Kun-hee was given a three-year suspended jail sentence on charges of tax evasion, but was cleared of breach-of-trust charges and charges he issued bonds to illegally transfer money to his children.
Lee’s sentence was suspended for five years. The court also fined Lee 110 billion won (about $110 million US), which was more than double the amount he was charged of evading in taxes.
South Korean officials have historically come down lightly on corporate bosses accused of fraud and other wrongdoing: few were expecting Lee would see any time in prison. Last month, judges handed down a three-year suspended jail sentence to the head of Hyundai Motor after he was found guilty of fraud.
Prosecutors held back on charging Lee with bribery, instead making their case on charges of tax evasion. They had originally sought a seven-year jail term on a 350 billion won fine. Prosecutors originally pressed forward on claims a former Samsung executive said the company maintained a slush fund for bribing government officials and politicians. However, prosecutors have not filed bribery charges against any of the ten top Samsung executives (including Lee) in the current round of indictments.
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