South Korean Court Suspends CJ Group Head Lee Jae Hyun’s Sentence

Michael Song, Nov. 18, 2015, 8:03 a.m.

An appeals court again accepted a request on Wednesday from the chairman of food and entertainment conglomerate CJ Group to suspend his three-year imprisonment for hospital treatment. The Seoul High Court decided to suspend the confinement of Lee Jay-hyun for four months till March 21, 2016. Lee is currently in hospital while awaiting the sentencing for a trial on tax evasion and embezzlement charges.

Lee, who has undergone a kidney transplant, claims that he suffers from multiple illnesses such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and kidney disease. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is an inherited neurological disease characterized by the slow, progressive degeneration of the muscles in the feet, lower legs and hands.

Lee was indicted in 2013 on suspicions of misappropriating some 160 billion won (US$130 million) in company assets to offshore slush funds and dodging taxes in the process. He was sentenced to three years in jail and fined 25.2 billion won by the court. His imprisonment, however, has been suspended several times since August 2013.

The Supreme Court, however, in September reversed the appellate court's ruling on Lee's breach of trust charges and sent the case back to the court. The first hearing in the retrial was held on Tuesday. The sentencing is slated for Dec. 15.

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