Samsung conglomerate chief Jay Y. Lee admitted in court on Tuesday to unlawful use of a controlled substance, as the executive’s legal troubles continued despite his release on parole in August after a bribery conviction. Lee appeared at the Seoul Central District Court where, in a short first hearing, he said he received propofol – a sedative used in anaesthesia – 41 times from 2015 through 2020.
His release in August had raised expectations of major decisions being taken at Samsung Electronics and its affiliates, including the location of a $17 billion chip factory being planned in the US.
Prosecutors, who are seeking a fine of 70 million won ($58,327) and an additional fee of 17 million won, said that Lee had been administered propofol under the guise of a skin treatment or unrelated to a legitimate treatment.
“This matter originated as for treatment, but I am deeply regretful,” Lee said. “I will … make sure that this does not happen again,” Lee told the small court, where about 15 people were present, adding he had not used the drug since his release. Lee’s lawyer told the court that Lee had received treatment for medical purposes, originally due to psychological pressure after the hospitalisation of his father and then as a result of the graft scandal and trial leading to his January conviction.