As we continue to follow Lee Jae-yong’s case, the author would like to point out the fact that ROK President’s attempts to “get to” the oligarchs have ranged in scope. During 2019, they have had an effect on many of them, hence, it is far simpler to use names of companies rather than describe events in a chronological manner in this article.
After the Supreme Court had ordered a review of Lee Jae-yong’s case because the value of the bribes paid to Park Geun-hye could have been underestimated by 5 billion won, a new trial against him began on 25 October 2019. We would like to remind our readers that the accused spent a year in prison and was released in February 2018 after an appellate court had cleared him of some charges due to lack of proof corroborating that the money had been paid as a bribe.
However, on 29 August, South Korea’s top court reversed this decision and ordered the appellate court to retry the case. Nowadays, the view is that the money was paid in exchange for assistance with the company succession: 3.4 billion of it was spent on the purchase of 3 horses for Park Geun-hye’s daughter, who later became a champion of Asia, and 1.4 billion was paid into a sports foundation. As a result, Lee Jae-yong, who is now serving a suspended sentence of 2.5 years, may once again be jailed, because a punishment for paying a bribe of 5+ billion won cannot be a suspended sentence. It is likely that Park Geun-hye’s prison term will also be increased.
Another case involves 5 billion won or $4.2 million (and not Park Geun-hye) that, apparently, the former President Lee Myung-bak took from the Samsung Group. South Korea’s Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) sent evidence in support of the additional accusations of bribery against Lee Myung-bak to the special investigations unit of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office as far back as the end of May. At present, the possibility that, from 2007 to 2011, Samsung paid for Lee Myung-bak’s legal expenses via the Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld law firm (based in Washington D.C) is being investigated. If relevant proof is found, then the overall sum of money accepted by former President Lee Myung-bak from Samsung will amount to a total of 11 billion won (once combined with 6.18 billion won that a court had ruled to be a bribe in October 2018).