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Shelly Banjo

Chaebol, You're On Notice

The prospect of harsher punishment could make bosses more receptive to minority shareholder concerns.
Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

The undoing of Samsung's Jay Y. Lee, the man at the top of South Korea's most powerful business empire, is a win for corporate reformers who have long tried to stop the country's family-run conglomerates from operating outside the law without consequences.

But missing from the conversation about Lee, sentenced Friday to five years in prison for bribing South Korea's former president, is how the genesis of his downfall can be traced back to a New York hedge fund once deemed "the world's most feared investor." Lee has appealed the verdict.