File Image: Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., arrives for his trial at Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. (Chung Sung-Jun/Pool Photo via AP)
CAPE TOWN - Samsung Electronics vice-chairperson Jay Y Lee has filed an appeal against the five-year jail term he was given for bribery and other charges, according to the Seoul Central District Court’s website yesterday.

The sentencing of the billionaire scion was a watershed for South Korea’s decades-long economic order, which has been dominated by powerful, family-run conglomerates.

Lee, the 49-year-old heir to one of the world’s biggest corporate empires, was detained in February on charges that he bribed then-president Park Geun-hye to help him secure control of the conglomerate that owns Samsung Electronics, the world’s leading smartphone and chip maker.

Samsung Group also has interests ranging from drugs and home appliances to insurance and hotels.

Samsung Electronics chief executive Kwon Oh-hyun asked employees to rally around the company.

“I believe all of you must be devastated by the lower court ruling We management are also distressed,” he wrote in an internal message to Samsung Electronics staff yesterday.

“Please do the best you can where you are We management will also lead the way in overcoming the crisis with uncommon resolve,” Kwon added.

Shares of Samsung Electronics closed 2%lower, compared with a 0.35% drop for the benchmark Kospi index, while shares in the conglomerate’s de facto holding company Samsung C&T dropped 3.4% and Samsung Life Insurance fell 2.9% due to foreign selling after Friday’s sentencing, analysts said.

“Reports from S&P and Fitch over the weekend prompted worries among foreign investors, triggering them to unload more shares today than they did on Friday,” said Kim Ye-eun, a stock analyst at Cape Investment & Securities. 

- REUTERS