Samsung Electronics Chief Executive Officer Kwon Oh-hyun asked the company's employees for patience and calmness following the conviction of Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, also known as Jay Y. Lee. In a message recently posted to the firm's internal boards, Mr. Kwon described the latest turn of events as an "unprecedented challenge" for the Seoul-based original equipment manufacturer, adding how he still strongly believes that the heir apparent of the largest chaebol in the Far Eastern country will successfully appeal the guilty verdict given by the Seoul Central District Court last week, with the competent judicial body sentencing the third richest man in South Korea to five years in prison for bribing top government officials, embezzling corporate funds, concealing the proceeds of a criminal act, hiding assets overseas, and perjuring himself.
Samsung Electronics is Samsung Group's flagship unit which accounts for the vast majority of its commercial performance and was also said to be the focus of Mr. Lee's everyday activities at the company, with the 49-year-old claiming he had no knowledge of the supposed bribes approved by the now-discontinued Future Strategy Office of the conglomerate. Since his arrest in February, Mr. Kwon and the other two co-CEOs of Samsung Electronics were managing the company by themselves, sources close to the tech giant said, adding that other divisions of the chaebol are now more autonomous than ever before, which some industry watchers previously claiming how that disconnection between various divisions of Samsung Group could hurt the company in the long term.
For the time being, Samsung Electronics is seeking to continue operating like it did so far and is even striving to go through with major mergers and acquisitions that would have otherwise been handled by Mr. Lee. One such move was announced earlier today, with the firm confirming a $2.3 billion investment in its NAND memory chip manufacturing operations in China, presenting them as part of a recently approved $7 billion investment strategy in this segment, with the funds themselves being planned to be distributed over the course of three years. Mr. Lee's appeal is expected to be reviewed by a competent appellate court in the coming months.