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Samsung ex-boss breached trust

Lee Kun-hee, July 2008
Lee has faced a series of legal troubles in the past two years

A court in South Korea has convicted the former chairman of the electronics giant, Samsung, of a breach of trust over fraudulent bond deals.

Lee Kun-hee was given a suspended prison sentence by the High Court.

The case centred on charges that Lee issued bonds at below the market price, which led to problems at a Samsung owned company.

Lee stepped down as chairman of Samsung in 2007 after being indicted for tax evasion.

The breach of trust case was being heard for a second time after the Supreme Court in May ordered the Seoul High Court to reconsider an earlier verdict.

Lee's bonds issues were apparently aimed at transferring management control to his only son Lee Jae-yong.

The Seoul High Court sentenced Lee to three years in prison and fined him 110 billion won ($89.2 million) but the suspension of the sentence means he will not go to jail if he stays out of trouble for five years.

The 67-year-old Lee, wearing a black suit, listened quietly to the verdict and then left the courtroom.

One of South Korea's richest people, Lee led Samsung for 20 years following the death of his father, the conglomerate's founder.

Samsung is best-known for its electronics unit, but it is also one of the world's largest shipbuilders.

With a global workforce of 254,000, it enjoyed annual profits of more than $12.9bn (£6.45bn) in 2006 and accounts for nearly a fifth of all South Korean exports.



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