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Samsung’s Jay Y. Lee Fined $60,000 Over Illegal Use of Sedative

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(Bloomberg) -- A South Korean court fined Samsung Electronics Co. Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee 70 million won ($60,000) for his illegal substance use, dealing another legal blow to the de-facto head of the country’s biggest company.

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A Seoul Central District Court spokesman confirmed the fine and 17 million won of additional forfeiture, following local media reports. During a hearing earlier this month, Lee admitted that he used propofol 41 times over a five-year span through last year.

Lee’s attorneys have argued that he used the sedative based on doctors’ prescriptions but acknowledged the prosecutors’ charges. The Samsung scion was under psychological pressure from the death of his father and several trials where he was battling allegations of financial misconduct, they said.

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The 53-year-old Samsung leader has been caught up in legal trouble for years, originating from his succession plans from 2014 when his father and Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee suffered a heart attack. The younger Lee was convicted of using bribery to win support for his formal succession at the company and sentenced to two and a half years in prison, before being released on parole.

He still faces the prospect of returning to prison if he is convicted of other charges. Allegations of his involvement in financial crimes related to a merger between two Samsung affiliates in 2015 have him attending court hearings every Thursday. Separately, prosecutors are investigating fresh allegations of tax evasion and hiding assets overseas after Yonhap News reported about a paper company set up in an offshore tax haven in 2008.

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Since he was freed on parole in August, Lee has returned to managing Samsung and leading investment plans, including the 240 trillion won ($205 billion) spending plan to boost the semiconductor sector in Korea. He may also visit the United States soon to finalize the chipmaker’s commitment to building an advanced chip plant on American soil, something that the Biden administration has made a priority as it seeks to establish more reliable semiconductor supplies.

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