South Korea court fines Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong for unlawful sedative use

WION Web Team
Seoul Published: Oct 26, 2021, 08:35 AM(IST)

Lee Jae-yong Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The Seoul Central District Court penalised Lee, the vice-chairman of the world's largest smartphone maker Samsung Electronics and the world's 238th richest person, 70 million won ($60,000).

Lee Jae-yong, the de-facto chairman of South Korea's enormous Samsung company, was found guilty on Tuesday of unlawfully taking the anaesthetic medication propofol, the latest legal setback for the multibillionaire.

The Seoul Central District Court penalised Lee, the vice-chairman of the world's largest smartphone maker Samsung Electronics and the world's 238th richest person, 70 million won ($60,000), according to Yonhap news agency.

Because propofol is less likely to be abused than other prohibited medications, violators are often given fines rather than prison sentences.

It is important to remember that while the sedative is intended for individuals having surgery, it has been known to be taken recreationally in the past. 

In recent years, the struggling businessman had taken the medication, which is widely used as anaesthetic, hundreds of times.

Under South Korean law, both persons who receive and those who administer a restricted substance can be penalised.

Lee was granted parole in August after serving 20 months in prison following his conviction on bribery and embezzlement charges.

Prosecutors said in the latest trial that the Samsung vice-chairman took propofol on many occasions between 2015 and 2020 under the premise of skin therapy.

His lawyer, on the other hand, claims that the businessman used the anaesthetic to alleviate psychological stress related to his father's hospitalisation and the continuing legal processes.

(With inputs from agencies)

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