An online petition to South Korea’s Presidential Residence asking for leniency for Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong in his trail have gain over 50,000 signees in three days.
The anonymous petition posted on Blue House’s petition page is likely to gain over 200,000 signees by January 18, on the trail verdict date.
Lee is standing trial in an appellate court over allegations that Samsung bribed former President Park Geun-hye and her aides to gain support for a controversial merger between two company affiliates.
The petitioner said he was in the education sector and was moved by Lee’s tearful appeals during trial.
They said they petitioned as the vice chairman had already suffered from years of investigation, trials and prison terms and has shown contrition; and businessman find it difficult to refuse requests for those in power [in South Korea]; and for his contribution to the standing of South Korea, and as Samsung is the leading exporter of South Korea; and for contributing taxes to South Korea; and for providing jobs; and for Samsung’s efforts in contributing to fighting COVID-19 during the early stages of the pandemic.
Lee was first arrested for bribery in 2017 and found guilty of bribery in a district court. His sentence was suspended in the appellate court in 2018 and he was released from prison. The Supreme Court returned the case to appellate court in 2019. The retrial started in October 2020 and is expected end this month.
Prosecutors have asked for a nine year sentence against Lee.