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South Korean prosecutors seeking extended 12-year sentence for Samsung heir apparent Jay Y. Lee

Prosecutors have appealed a lesser five-year sentence, and are requesting that the South Korean court system extend the prison term for Samsung executive Jay Y. Lee already found guilty of bribery.




On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that the prosecutors are seeking what they originally asked for in the initial trial. Should the court approve, it would "establish the rule of law" for a populace casting a critical eye at the closeness of government and business.

"Lee's control and wealth at Samsung is none other than a result of bribery," said special prosecutor Park Young-soo while demanding the prison term. "People want chaebol to no longer maintain the privileges to rule over the Republic of Korea alongside politicians."

Lee claims in his own appeal that he never sought the top role at Samsung, so claims that he gave South Korean President Park Geun-hye's friend thoroughbred horses to help secure the government's support were erroneous and misinterpreted.

The court originally ruled that Lee had had paid bribes in order to receive favors from the South Korean President at the time, with Lee claimed to have directed $26 million to organizations linked to Choi-Soon-sil, a close friend of President Park Geun-hye. The favors were said to include support from the National Pension Services for a merger between Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T in 2015, a move that would have provided Lee with more power within the Samsung organization.

Lee was also found guilty of embezzlement, perjury, and of hiding assets abroad.

On the same day, a number of other former executives received convictions for their roles in the scandal. Former corporate strategy office chief Choi Gee-sung and former president Chang Choong-ki received sentences of four years in prison, with suspended prison terms given to two other executives.

"This case is a matter of Lee Jay-yong and Samsung Group Executives, who had been steadily preparing for Lee's succession... bribing the president." said Seoul Central District Court Judge Kim Jin-dong during the initial ruling. As the heir apparent to the group, Lee "stood to benefit the most" from any political favors that aided the Samsung group.

President Park Geun-hye was impeached in December 2016 and removed from office in March over the allegations, and will be facing charges of abuse of power, coercion and bribery. Park denied the corruption charges in May, with the trial expected to last at least six months.

Lee was the stand-in leader for the company after his father suffered a heart attack in 2014. The sentence will make it difficult for Lee to return to the conglomerate - a "chaebol" - which has been under his family's control since its founding, with it almost certainly looking to find a new leader amongst its ranks.

Lee has denied any wrongdoing, with lawyer Song Wu-cheol insisting "The entire guilty verdict is unacceptable." Lee has appealed, with a hearing expected at some point in 2018.

A panel of three judges will consider both appeals.