SEOUL, South Korea – The Seoul Supreme Court sentenced Samsung’s top leader Lee Jae-yong to two and a half years in prison on Monday for bribing former South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
Mr. Lee’s case can still go to the Supreme Court if either Mr. Lee or the prosecution wants to take it there. In South Korea, the Supreme Court can either approve a lower court ruling on a case or send it back for retrial. It cannot override the judgment of a lower court.
When Mr. Lee’s case first reached the Supreme Court in 2019, the court returned it to the Seoul Supreme Court for retrial, stating that it had the amount of bribes Mr. Lee gave to Ms. Park and her secret confidante Choi Soon- paid, underestimated. sil while Mrs. Park was in power. The amount was supposed to be 8.6 billion won ($ 7.8 million), not 3.6 billion as the lower court found.
In its ruling on Monday, the Seoul Supreme Court accepted 8.6 billion won as the correct amount as instructed by the Supreme Court. The decision to do so meant that it was far from settled, that the Supreme Court would approve the verdict should the case end there again.
Mr. Lee has already spent a year in prison after being arrested in 2017 in connection with the prosecutor’s bribery case. He is now expected to spend only a year and a half in prison, which takes away the day-to-day running of one of the world’s most valuable technology giants.
After the court issued its verdict on Monday, Mr. Lee was immediately arrested in the courtroom so that he could serve his time.