Samsung chief Lee Jae Yong awaits his sentence!

Michelle Kim, Aug. 25, 2017, 11:07 a.m.

The Seoul Central District Court will pronounce its verdict on Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong on Friday, 178 days after independent counsel Park Young-soo indicted him for bribery. Lee is accused of giving W43.3 billion in bribes to ex-President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil (US$1=W1,129). The court will also sentence former Samsung executive Choi Gee-sung, who seems to have been trying to take the fall for his boss, and others.

The hearing starts at 2:30 p.m. The court had to raffle tickets due to huge crowds who want to hear the verdict. It is expected to take about two hours because the case is complicated and there are five defendants. Lee denies knowing anything about the bribes, which were paid to a dodgy foundation Choi set up under the Cheong Wa Dae aegis, and to Choi’s daughter disguised as sponsorship for her equestrian training.

In passing sentence, the court is expected to express a view on whether there was a conspiracy between Park and Choi to fleece conglomerates in return for favors. The two women are on trial in a different courtroom. Lee is also accused of embezzling the alleged bribes from his publicly traded conglomerate and on the technical charge of hiding assets overseas since Choi's daughter lived in Germany. Prosecutors have sought 12 years in prison for Lee, and seven to 10 years for Choi Gee-sung and three others.

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