Samsung’s Group Head Can Still Play A Key Role In Decision Making


Jay Y. Lee, the 3rd generation leader of South Korea’s Samsung Group and the scion to the one of the country’s wealthiest families is now on a 71-square foot detention cell without a shower. The only amenities provided in the cell include a toilet at a corner, a washstand and a mattress on the floor.

However, in spite of being confined in a jail cell, Lee is allowed to accept visitors which mean active involvement on key corporate decisions even if he is no longer running the conglomerate. Lee is detained at a separate cell away from other inmates of Seoul Detention Center.

Aside from Lee, there are other high profile defendants in the corruption scandal which led to the ouster of South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye. While on detention, Lee can meet with his lawyers without any time limits for as often as he wants to during business hours from Monday to Saturday. However, Lee did not attend Thursday’s preparatory hearing on his trial for bribery, embezzlement and other charges.

Lee denies all charges against him and his priority right now is to prepare for his legal defense so that truth can be revealed in the future court proceedings. Samsung has not announced a replacement for Lee but according to company insiders, Lee was not active on day-to-day affairs because his involvement with Samsung is more on key decision making for major initiatives like new investments, personnel decisions, restructuring and acquisitions.

According to an executive of a Samsung affiliate, who refused to be identified, Lee will eventually be proven innocent that is why there is no talk about any possible replacement. On what is potentially considered to be the “trial of the century” Lee continues to await trial but is allowed a 30-minute visit per day or at least 12 hours of meeting a month.

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