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Former Samsung chief found guilty over bond deal

world Updated: Aug 14, 2009 11:43 IST

A Seoul court on Friday found Samsung Group's former chairman Lee Kun Hee guilty of breach of trust over a bond deal and sentenced him to a suspended three-year prison term and a fine of 110 billion won ($89.2 million).

The Seoul High Court ruled that Lee caused damage to a Samsung company because he betrayed his duty over illegal sales of bonds in 1999 by Samsung SDS, an unlisted technology company, aimed at passing control of Samsung to his son Lee Jae Yong.

The judge said the charge that illegal sales of bonds at below market price incurred 22.7 billion won ($18 million) in losses at Samsung SDS was proved.

The judge said that considering his contribution to society, Lee would not have to go to jail if he stays out of trouble for the next five years.

The 67-year-old Lee has one week to appeal the verdict.

Lee, a South Korean business tycoon who succeeded his father who founded Samsung, is credited with the rise of Samsung group as a global player.

He has faced a series of litigations in the past few years.

Lee resigned as chairman of Samsung Electronics in April last year after he was convicted in 2008 of tax evasion.

The tax evasion and breach-of-duty charges date back to January 2008 when Samsung group's former chief lawyer Kim Yong Chul alleged corruption at Samsung which led to an investigation.