Samsung Vice Chairman and de-facto leader Lee Jae-yong can’t seem to get over his legal woes. Currently out of jail on parole, Lee has been fined by a South Korean district court for the illegal use of a sedative. The Seoul Central District Court Tuesday fined the Samsung Group heir KRW 87 million (approx. $74,000) for using the sedative propofol for purposes other than medical treatments. This includes a penalty of KRW 17 million for violating the Narcotics Control Act.
According to the Korean media, Lee was convicted of taking propofol illegally 41 times between January 2015 and May 2020. The sedative is said to have the same high levels of addiction and dependency as other illegal drugs. Lee reportedly administered the “strictly prohibited” drugs illegally at a plastic surgery clinic in southern Seoul.
Prosecutors indicted the Samsung chief of the charges in June this year. They had initially sought a KRW 50 million fine for Lee but later filed for a higher amount after finding him taking the illegal drugs more frequently. A district court has now fined him the same amount prosecutors had demanded. Lee had reportedly pleaded guilty to the charges in a prior hearing.
Judge Jang Young-chae said the seriousness of Lee’s crime is quite high not just because of the level of dosage he had taken, but also because of his position and social influence. He should be “compliant with the law and serve as an exemplary person,” the court said. The judge, however, noted that Lee had “confessed to all his crimes and had no prior convictions on related crimes”. The court urged him “to break free of propofol and become a healthy and exemplary parent to children.”
Legal troubles for Samsung leader Lee Jae-yong keep compounding
As mentioned earlier, Lee Jae-yong is currently out of jail on parole. He was serving a 2.5 years sentence in prison for bribing former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Lee, who is the richest person in South Korea, had bribed Park to help him take control of the Samsung Group. The current South Korean President Moon Jae-in granted him parole in the “national interest” in August this year.
Moreover, Lee is also facing another investigation for fraud and stock manipulation involving a couple of Samsung affiliates. These offenses relate to the merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries in 2015. If found guilty, he might have to head back into prison again or at least face another hefty fine.
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