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Samsung’s boss is probably still in charge

by on14 March 2017

Even in jail

The head of South Korea's Samsung Group Jay Y. Lee, may be languishing in a jail cell but he is allowed plenty of visitors which probably means he is still running the company.

Lee is kept well away from other inmates at the Seoul Detention Centre but under South Korean regulations he can meet his attorneys whenever he likes.

He can have a 30-minute visit per day from someone else, including executives from one of Samsung’s affiliates, or at least 12 hours of such meetings a month. He is also allowed special meetings in a visiting room that doesn't have partitions, allowing detainees to review documents and receive phone calls.

Samsung has fudged questions about Lee’s involvement in the running of the company and said that Lee's priority is preparing the legal defense so the truth can be revealed in future court proceedings.

But Samsung hasn't named a replacement for Lee, who did not manage day-to-day affairs but was instead acting as the key decision maker on major initiatives such as new investments, acquisitions, personnel decisions and restructuring.

At the moment sources within Samsung suggest that there is no Plan B to replace Lee and he is widely expected to walk free after the first trial.

Samsung Group has disbanded its corporate strategy office, the conglomerate's nerve center controlled by Lee and his lieutenant Choi Gee-sung, who is also a defendant in the case.

Lee does not have access to a computer in his 6.56 square meter cell, he can view documents during those meetings with his lawyers and Samsung executives. Lee is not allowed to take documents back to his cell. He can also make phone calls with permission of the warden, but calls can be recorded or listened to by the authorities.

Last modified on 14 March 2017
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