Scandals

Samsung hit to the heart by the corruption scandal

In 2017, Mr Lee, vice chairman of the flagship of the Samsung Electronics group, was suspected of bribing Ms Park's shadow confidante Choi Soon-Sil to the tune of nearly $ 40 million in exchange of political favors.

If convicted, Mr. Lee faces several years in prison. But other captains of industry have enjoyed some leniency in the face of such accusations, starting with his own father, Lee Kung-Hee, who suffered a heart attack in 2014.

The patriarch, under whom the obscure electronics firm had turned into a global group, was convicted in 1996 of bribing President Roh Tae-Wooo. He was given a suspended prison sentence before being pardoned a year later.

Tax evasion

In 2008, he was convicted of tax evasion and dereliction of duty after a former Samsung lawyer revelations about a secret slush fund weighing billions of dollars. Again, he received a reprieve and a presidential pardon.

The Lee family only owns 5% of Samsung's capital, but it controls the group through a complex web of cross-shareholdings between subsidiaries.

Samsung reportedly bought Ms Choi to get the government's go-ahead for a controversial merger between two entities seen as crucial for a smooth transfer of power.

Some shareholders vehemently opposed the transaction on the grounds that one of the entities had been deliberately undervalued.

(Source: Ouest-France)

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