A lower court in Seoul sentenced Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to five years in prison Friday, finding him guilty of bribery, embezzlement and other charges in a massive corruption scandal that led to the ouster of former President Park Geun-hye.
The Seoul Central District Court handed down the verdict, saying Lee is believed to have been involved in Samsung's provision of 7.2 billion won (US$6.38 million) in bribes for the equestrian training of the daughter of Park's longtime friend and confidante Choi Soon-sil.
Lee was also convicted of embezzlement, hiding assets overseas and perjury.
Prosecutors had demanded a 12-year jail term for Lee on charges that he offered or pledged 43.3 billion won (US$38 million) to win the government's blessing for a merger between two Samsung subsidiaries under terms designed to increase his control over the entire Samsung empire.
Lee, who has been under pre-sentencing detention since February, has denied the charges. Lee is expected to appeal the decision. (Yonhap News)
The following is a chronology of major events leading to the sentencing hearing for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong charged with bribery and other crimes in a massive corruption scandal involving ousted former President Park Geun-hye.
2016 Oct. 27: Prosecutors launch a special investigation team to look into the corruption and influence-peddling scandal involving the former president, her confidante Choi Soon-sil and her aides.
Nov. 21: The investigation team questions Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee as a witness.
Nov. 30: Park decides to appoint Park Young-soo, former chief of the Seoul High Prosecutors' Office, as independent counsel.
Dec. 21: The independent counsel team officially begins its investigation into Park's scandal and raids the offices of the health and welfare ministry and National Pension Service.
Jan. 9: The independent counsel team questions two executives at Samsung's now-disbanded Future Strategy Office -- Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung and President Chang Choong-ki -- as witnesses.
Jan. 12: The team questions Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee as a suspect.
Jan. 16: The team requests an arrest warrant against Lee on charges of bribery, embezzlement and perjury.
Jan. 19: The Seoul Central District Court rejects the request for Lee's arrest warrant.
Jan. 20: The independent counsel team questions Samsung Electronics senior executive Hwang Sung-soo as a witness.
Jan. 25: The team questions two senior Samsung officials -- Kim Jong-joong and Kim Shin -- as witnesses.
Feb. 3: The team raids the offices of the Fair Trade Commission and Financial Services Commission.
Feb. 12: The team quizzes Chang Choong-ki, former executive of Samsung's now-disbanded Future Strategy Office, as a suspect.
Feb. 13: The team questions Samsung heir Lee and other top executives -- Park Sang-jin and Hwang Sung-soo -- as suspects.
Feb. 14: The team requests arrest warrants for Lee Jae-yong and Park Sang-jin.
Feb. 17: The court issues an arrest warrant for Lee, dismisses the writ request for Park
Feb. 18-26: The special probe team conducts several interrogations of Lee.
Feb. 27: Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn decides not to extend the independent counsel's probe period.
Feb. 28: The independent counsel indicts Lee on five charges, including bribery, embezzlement and perjury. It also indicts four Samsung officials -- Choi Gee-sung, Chang Choong-ki, Park Sang-jin and Hwang Sung-soo -- without detention. The Samsung Group disbands the Future Strategy Office with Choi and Chang offering to step down.
April 7: The court begins the official hearing for Lee and other four indicted Samsung officials.
July 4: An Chong-bum, a former senior economic secretary for ousted President Park, testifies at Lee's court hearing.
July 7: Former Vice Culture Minister Kim Chong testifies at Lee's trial.
July 12: Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of former President Park's confidante Choi, testifies at Lee's trial.
July 26: Former President Park's confidante Choi testifies at Lee's trial.
July 31-Aug. 2: Lee and four co-defendants -- Hwang Sung-soo, Park Sang-jin, Chang Choong-ki and Choi Gee-sung -- are interrogated at court.
Aug. 7: The independent counsel requests a 12-year jail sentence for Lee, 10-year terms for Choi, Chang and Park, and seven years for Hwang.
Aug. 25: A Seoul court sentences Lee to five years in prison, finding him guilty of bribery, embezzlement and other charges. It also slaps Choi and Chang with four-year terms each, while meting out suspended sentences for Park and Hwang.