Global chip shortage helps get Samsung VP out of jail

chip shortage helps get Samsung VP out of jail

It seems that the shortage of chips has served Lee Jae-Young, vice president of Samsung, quite well, as he will be released from prison on probation this Friday after serving 6 months of a 30-month sentence for bribery and embezzlement. This comes after international pressure from US companies, as Samsung has in its sights set up potential semiconductor factories on US soil.

Unsurprisingly, the only thing that matters to the US semiconductor industry is the investments Samsung plans to make in US semiconductor production. The Biden administration recently announced its own $50 billion plan in the face of the current semiconductor shortage. Samsung is one of the world’s largest chipmakers, and is currently investigating the construction of semiconductor factories in Austin (where it already has a factory), Phoenix, and New York, which would only reinforce President Biden’s efforts.

Presumably, to maintain Samsung’s interest in continuing its investments in the United States, the American Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to current South Korean President Moon Jae-In in early May, in which it stated: “We believe that the pardon Samsung’s top executive is best for the United States and Korea.” The letter’s reception coincided with a summit in Washington between Moon and President Biden that took place that same week.

Although the timing is eye-catching, we cannot say for sure what role foreign influence has played in Lee Jae-Young’s early release from jail. However, Lee’s probation breaks a Korean Ministry of Justice pattern of making inmates serve at least 70% of their sentences before they are eligible for parole. According to the New York Times, the Justice Department said shortly before Lee’s release that it would “make it easier for inmates with good conduct to apply for parole,” though time will tell if that approach will be applied to other inmates besides Lee.

But, according to Bloomberg, Justice Minister Park Beom-kye announced that the authorities granted Lee parole not only for his good “attitude during incarceration,” but also for public sentiment and the impact of Covid-19 in the national and global economy.

According to the Associated Press, polls show that the South Korean public, South Korean business leaders and President Moon’s own government are largely in favor of Lee’s release, perhaps because of the strength that Samsung could bring to the recovery. of the electronics industry.

However, the New York Times reports that activists still gathered outside the Justice Department as Lee’s parole was being deliberated, holding signs advising against leniency toward corrupt business moguls. This is not the first time the Lee family has faced the court system, as Jae-Young’s father was twice convicted of corruption and tax evasion. Both times he was pardoned.