Last week, Samsung head Jay Y. Lee was arrested in connection with a corruption scandal that resulted in the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Just a few weeks ago, he was living the life that comes with having a net worth of $6.2 billion. Now, the 48-year-old is confined to a single cell and is dealing with the repercussions of the scandal.
According to Reuters, Lee is accused of bribing President Park to obtain favors from the government needed for him to secure the leadership at Samsung. The special prosecutor’s office said on Friday that it will indict the father-of-two on charges including bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, and perjury.
While Lee is used to the comforts of his $4 million Seoul mansion, the scion of the country’s richest family is now in a 71-square-foot detention cell. The Business Insider detailed Lee’s living conditions behind bars, revealing that his cell is outfitted with a toilet in the corner behind a partition. His bed is a mattress on the floor, and the only other furnishing is a small study table at one side of the cell and a washstand.
Lee is imprisoned at the Seoul Detention Centre, a facility on the outskirts of the city where arrested politicians and corporate heads are usually held. It was said that he has no contact with other inmates, as prison officials reportedly do not want the billionaire to discuss the case with others.
It was also said that Lee being given a single cell is not due to special treatment, but that he is there for safety reasons as there are “concerns about destroying evidence,” according to an official who spoke with Reuters (via Business Insider).
Lee is allowed to have visitors, but he can only speak with them through a glass partition. He is allowed to exercise for 30 minutes a day and will be given simple rice meals which cost about $1.26. He can watch TV inside his cell, but he only has access to a single channel with recorded programs broadcast by the justice ministry. Any other item that he needs such as snacks, coffee, and toiletries must be bought at the commissary.
Reuters reports that Samsung employees are worried about Lee’s arrest, but the situation is business as usual.
“It wouldn’t make sense for a company that size to not function properly just because the owner is away,” said one employee to the media outlet.
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