Lee who is 49, was among people involved in the South Korean bribery scandal that resulted in the impeachment of South Korea's former president. Lee had earlier denied corruption charges against him before being sentenced to five years in prison on Friday this week. Prosecutors had previously demanded that the judge should consider jailing Lee to twelve years. Lee was detained in February this year for embezzlement of funds, bribery and hiding assets abroad. Lee's lawyers told reporters that they would appeal the sentencing. According to the BBC, his sentencing marks the first time a top company executive in South Korea has received a jail sentence.

In the past, senior company executives accused of crime received presidential pardons. Four other managers of Samsung have also been convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.

Lee Jae-Yong

According to Forbes, Lee has a net worth of $7 billion; this makes him the third wealthiest person in South Korea. According to Bloomberg, Lee attended Havard Business school for five years to pursue his Ph.D. but did not graduate. He began working at Samsung in 1991 as the vice president of strategic planning; he later worked as the company's chief operating officer from December 2009 before becoming the company's deputy chairman in 2012.

The corruption scandal

Lee was arrested on February 17 after an arrest warrant was issued against him in January this year by a South Korean prosecutor.

He was accused of handling bribes totaling $38 million that was given by Samsung to former South Korean president Park and her friend Choi Soon-Sil who she had known since the 1970's. The bribes were given in return for government favors and to further Samsung's business interests such as the merger of two Samsung units. Samsung earlier this year admitted gifting Choi's two nonprofit organizations.

According to Aljazeera, Choi's foundations received a contribution of $16.8 million. Choi is also accused of extorting bribes, leaking classified documents and Abuse Of Power despite not being a government official. According to the Guardian, Choi is also charged with influencing a University to change its admission criteria so that her daughter can easily be admitted.

She was sentenced to three years after being convicted on June 23 this year.

The 2016 South Korean political scandal began in late 2016. Former president Park Geun-Hye was impeached on December 9 last year. On March 10, 2017, a court in South Korea ruled that the former president abused her powers as president.