Samsung’s vice chairman Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison earlier this year. He was found guilty of bribing an associate of former South Korean president to force the merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T, which allowed him to take control of Samsung Electronics. While Lee isn’t interested in getting out of jail, Buddhist monks of the highest order have called for leniency in this matter.
According to reports coming out of South Korea, the head monks of the 24 branch temples of the Jogye Order have pleaded with President Moon Jae-in and two other politicians to give jailed Lee a second chance. The Jogye Order is South Korea’s largest Buddhist sect, and it is rare for its head monks to release a joint statement for leniency of a jailed businessman.
While the monks didn’t request a pardon, they said that Lee deserves a chance to repent his past and fulfill the commitments that he had made last year. They also called on the public to see whether Lee lives up to his past promises. Their joint statement was delivered to South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, and National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug.
The monks said in a joint statement, “We understand that Mr. Lee has made plenty of efforts to repent on his past and even released a public apology prior to the court’s ruling. In the statement, he admitted Samsung didn’t play by the rules and was unethical. He also said he was sorry for being unable to respond to the heightened social norms of society.”
Lee Jae-yong isn’t allowed to work for Samsung for five years once he is released from jail. This decision by the court has put the company in a state of crisis. It was revealed yesterday that the company wants Lee back at the helm before announcing a $62.7 billion investment to expand its semiconductor production amid the ongoing global chip crisis.