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The scandal that shook Samsung to its knees

Scandals, yes, today we are going to talk about scandals, not as a whole but one in particular. Scandals are something which can absolutely ruin a person’s life and career. There have been numerous high profile scandals over the years, there have been some which have undone decade-long legacies while there have been some scandals which have brought down multinational organizations. That said, right now we are going to relive one such scandal which almost shot down a giant.

Lee Jae-yong, acting-chairman of the Samsung group found himself in deep trouble in the year 2017. Samsung is a South Korean giant which was already struggling with multiple setbacks in the year 2017. Lee Jae-yong, son of Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of Samsung was accused of multiple things. Lee Jae-yong is a billionaire and the third richest man in South Korea.  He was accused of bribery and cronyism, two of the most unethical crimes in the business world.

The scandal happened right after Park Geun-hye was deposed of her Presidency. The public was already against Park and she was infamously stripped down of her post. Lee’s scandal was related to Park. He apparently made multiple donations but requested support from Park, who was President at that time. These donations were then termed as bribery as he was donating money for personal reasons. The court heard all the arguments patiently as the verdict later did not surprise anyone but Lee.

He was handcuffed and taken to court from the detention center and all of the media followed him from place to place. He was seen tied with a rope as well. Court, later on, gave its verdict in which Lee, who is also known as Jay Y Lee, was convicted of multiple charges. He was found guilty of embezzlement, concealing profit from criminal acts, bribery and hiding assets overseas. Lee was sentenced to a five-year jail term and which is the largest given to any family-run conglomerates in South Korea.

This was a huge setback for Samsung as one of their heirs was taken away from them. At that time, he was also the acting chairman of the company and that was a telling time for the Korean giant. That said, his cases were closely linked with the former President Park and this could have had an adverse effect on her sentencing as well. She was already facing a life sentence.

The lawyers of Lee were absolutely furious with courts decisions as they felt it was a total injustice. The court was also under a lot of public pressure because of its link to Park. It was not only Lee but four other Samsung executives were also convicted and sentenced to a four-year jail term. Lee paid around $38 million to Choi’s four entities and Choi is a close friend of Park. Park often allowed Choi access to secret documents to which she had no security clearance.

Employees at Samsung were shell-shocked and were left without a head. Lee was acting as Chairman since his father suffered a heart attack in 2014. All the people at Samsung were worried and for days there was no official statement from the company. That said, the investors at that time were worried about its $322 billion worth assets which were in deep trouble after the head of the organization was taken away.

– Unmesh Phule

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