Jay Y. Lee, the Samsung Group’s billionaire scion, offered personal apologies for his company’s involvement in a succession crisis that engulfed South Korea and vowed not to turn over leadership to its children, an unprecedented public indication of contrition from the most successful corporation in the nation. Speaking at a company headquarters briefing, Lee confessed previous errors and vowed to stop potential breaches of the law. His pledge indicates that leadership of Korea’s largest conglomerate, established by his grandfather, will not be passed on to a fourth generation automatically.
For years, Lee has also been entangled in claims that he used horses and financial donations to gain favour from then-President Park Geun-Hye via an intermediary to help with his succession as Samsung’s leader. The controversy has led to Park’s impeachment in 2017 and sentenced her to 25 years in jail. It also inflamed public outrage about the power of conglomerates in the country, triggering a reformer’s election as her successor. An apology from the executive can help burn the reputation of Samsung, which improved after a series of efforts were made by the electronics giant to support Korea in its fight against Covid-19.
The legal battle has ended Lee’s time at the helm of Samsung Electronics Co. The world’s top smartphone and memory chip manufacturer. After his father suffered a heart attack in 2014, he became de-facto leader. But subsequently, incarcerates for about a year before his release in early 2018. Last year, after the nature of the suspect crime, changes. Lee went to court for a retrial and he once again faced the prospect of prison.
Lee’s speech varied markedly from either the past. He and Samsung had consistently insisted they did nothing wrong.
Lee also apologised for Samsung’s anti-union stance, a subject of long-running controversy.
Appeal Court Frees Lee
Samsung C&T Corp., the Samsung Empire’s de facto holding firm, rose 6.6 per cent, just ahead of the Korean stock index.
In the next few months, the appeals court that agreed to free Lee. It forces to rule on his final sentence. Unless new information arises during the retrial, it expects that the appeals court will rule. It is in line with Korea’s Supreme Court ruling. It finds that Lee was using the horses and money to bribe President Park when seeking political help. That would mean adjusting Lee’s prison term, currently suspended.
The cumulative amount of suspected bribery decided by the top court brings a minimum five-year sentence. It is out of suspension in the same manner as Lee’s current sentence. Nevertheless, media reporting in Korea has concentrated on Article 53 of the Korean Criminal Act. It stipulates that there could be a discretionary waiver of the penalty ‘where there are extenuating circumstances.’
In Lee’s case, Samsung’s harm critical as it is to Korea’s economy. It views as a justification for keeping him out of jail.
Lee gave up at the Samsung board on extending his three-year contract. Although if he retains his role as vice president, it will be the board. It will guide overall decisions, people who are familiar with the matter have said. CEOScore park said after the years of controversy Lee was under pressure to apologize and show contrition.