Samsung heir jailed for five years on corruption charge

Samsung Chief Awaits Sentencing

And for 22 billion won in donations to foundations allegedly controlled by Choi, the court said Lee was not guilty as Samsung had no alternative but to comply with Park's browbeating.

The 49-year-old was also found guilty of hiding assets overseas, embezzlement and perjury, as Reuters reported.

Prosecutors sought a 12-year jail sentence for Lee, who had not denied all charges.

Samsung has not denied transferring corporate funds, but Lee, vice chairman at Samsung Electronics and the Samsung founder's grandson, claimed innocence during the court hearing. His lawyer said they would appeal immediately.

The court was facing huge public pressure to deliver the guilty verdict after the wide-ranging scam circling around Park ended up in her impeachment in 2016.

"We are confident the ruling will be overturned", Song Wu-cheol said.

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Two other Samsung executives, Choi Gee-sung and Chang Choong-ki, have also been convicted in the same trial, and were both sentenced to four years in prison.

Via her friendship with Park, Choi was found guilty of meddling in state affairs, as well as wielding influence over large conglomerates in the country. Since Lee's arrest, Samsung has continued to see record profits, and the recently revealed Galaxy Note 8 is likely to be another smash hit for the company.

Judges pointed to an unusual arrangement in which Samsung bankrolled equestrian training for Choi's daughter as proof of Lee's knowledge of what was happening. The court handed Jae-yong a five year prison sentence.

The firms have long had murky connections with political authorities in South Korea, and past trials of their leaders have often ended with light or suspended sentences, with courts citing their contributions to the economy. Park is accused of pressuring South Korea's national pension service to support the deal. If the conviction is upheld, it will also mark a significant watershed for South Korea, which has previously been lenient to its big companies (chaebols), often issuing presidential pardons for corruption charges.

Lee is the first member of the family to have been convicted and jailed for his corruption crimes.

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