The retrial of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong will begin on Oct. 25. In August, the Supreme Court overturned the second trial's ruling to the effect that Lee should be additionally admitted to the charge of bribery.
As Lee has embezzled more than 5 billion won on additional bribery charges, the attention is focusing on the sentence he will get at the court.
The Seoul High Court will hold its first trial period for Lee on Oct. 25. In the previous second trial, the Seoul High Court sentenced Lee to two and a half years in prison, suspended for four years, as it did not see three horses Samsung gave to Choi Soon-sil, a friend and adviser to former president Park Geun-hye, and donations to the Winter Sports Genius Center as bribes.
The Supreme Court, however, judged that Samsung's purchase of three horses worth 3.4 billion won and donations of 1.6 billion won to the sports center were all bribes. As a result, the amount of Lee's bribery charges will increase from 3.6 billion won to 8.6 billion won.
Regarding the purchase of the three horses, the Supreme Court said, "The bribe is a de facto right to dispose of the horses, which does not mean legal ownership," adding, "The fact that Choi Soon-sil was angry over why the title of the horse ownership was given to Samsung can be seen as effectively gaining the right to dispose of the horses."
The Supreme Court also explained that in the case of donations to the sports center, Samsung systematically carried out the succession process through the Future Strategy Office with a clear purpose, and that support for the center can be recognized as a consideration for the pending succession work.
Since such bribes were spent from Samsung's money, the vice chairman will be charged with embezzlement under the Specific Economic Crimes-weighted Punishment Act. If the embezzled amount exceeds 5 billion won, he or she will be sentenced to life in prison or more than five years of imprisonment for a limited term. Also, if a sentence of more than three years in prison is passed, the suspended jail term will not be possible, according to experts.
However, since the Supreme Court has also the minority opinion that horses and the donations to the sports center cannot be regarded as bribes, a fierce legal battle is expected in the retrial.