CJ Group Chairman Lee Gets Reduced Prison Term for Second Time

  • Tycoon sentenced to two years and six months in prison
  • CJ Group says it's `devastated' Lee jailed despite his health

Lee Jay Hyun, the ailing chairman of South Korea’s CJ Group, had his prison term reduced for a second time.

Lee, 55, who controls a conglomerate with businesses spanning from food to media and entertainment, was sentenced Tuesday to 2 1/2 years in prison, according to Seoul High Court spokesman Lee Ho Jae. In February 2014, Lee was sentenced to four years in prison and fined 26 billion won ($22 million) for embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty and tax evasion, but the sentence was reduced to three years and the fine trimmed to 25.2 billion won on appeal.

Lee, a grandson of Samsung Group’s founder, has been in and out of jail during that period because of complications stemming from a kidney transplant in August 2013. 

CJ said it’s “devastated” that Lee has been sentenced to a prison term despite his inability to comply with prison life due to health issues, according to a text message from the group. Risks to the group will intensify during his absence, according to the text.

Lee will appeal the ruling with the Supreme Court, CJ Group said.

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