Former Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee is surrounded by reporters after he comes out of court in Seoul, Friday. The appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling.
/ Korea Times
By Kang Shin-who
An appeals court upheld a lower court's guilty verdict and suspended jail sentence against former Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee.
The Seoul High Court upheld a three-year jail term suspended for five years and a 110 billion won ($77 million) fine for tax evasion, handed down by the lower court.
The high court, however, cleared Lee of charges of breach of trust involving his controversial transfer of group control to his only son Jae-yong.
Judge Seo Ki-seok said that the court took into consideration Lee's poor health and contribution to the nation's economy. ``The ruling at a lower court was neither too heavy nor too light,'' he said in the ruling.
Lee, 66, stepped down from the top post of the nation's largest conglomerate in April after being indicted along with other group executives.
Asked by reporters whether he was satisfied with the ruling, Lee said, ``I don't know.'' It is still unknown whether the prosecution or Lee will appeal.
Lee Hak-soo, the group's former vice chairman and Kim In-joo, former president of the group's Strategic Planning Office also had their two years and six months and a three years jail sentences, respectively, suspended for five years upheld. Both were also ordered to do 320 hours of community service.
In January, special prosecutor Cho Joon-woong charged the former group chief with evading 113 billion won in taxes through illegal stock trading between 2000-2006 and orchestrating the murky transfer of Lee's corporate control to his son in the mid-1990s.