Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman, Jay Y. Lee, speaks during a news conference at a company’s office building in Seoul, South Korea, May 6, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/Pool
SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee, embroiled in a bribery scandal, on Wednesday apologised over controversial succession plans and said he will not hand over management rights to his children at the family-controlled conglomerate.
The 51-year-old Lee expressed regret for the group’s failure to strictly abide by the law and ethics, in his first news conference in five years.
The vice chairman of Samsung Electronics has been embroiled in a bribery scandal involving South Korea’s impeached president and which prosecutors said was aimed at smoothing business succession.
“Samsung failed to live up to public expectations. We have caused disappointments and concerns,” the 51-year-old Lee said at a Samsung office in southern Seoul.
He also apologised for the behaviour of executives caught sabotaging labour union activities.
The Supreme Court in August overturned an appeals court ruling on the bribery case, raising the possibility of a tougher sentence and potential return to jail for the chief of South Korea’s biggest conglomerate.
Some of Samsung Group’s former and current executives have been investigated or convicted in other cases. For example, then-board chairman of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Lee Sang-hoon, was jailed in December for sabotaging union activities. He has since resigned and lodged an appeal.
Lee said he will not handover management powers to his children.
“I’m thinking of not passing on management rights to my children. I have been keeping that thought to myself, as I was reluctant to make it public.”
Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Heekyong Yang; Editing by Christopher Cushing & Shri Navaratnam