Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong will be dismissed as chairman of the Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation as he was sentenced to two and a half years in jail in a trial over the Choi Soon-sil scandal during the Park Geun-hye administration. Lee succeeded his father Lee Kun-hee, the late chairman of Samsung Group, as chairman of the foundation.
The Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation was taking steps to dismiss vice chairman Lee as chairman of the board of the foundation, said the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Yongsan-gu Office, which guide and supervise the foundation, on Feb. 21.
The Social Welfare Services Act stipulates that a person who has been sentenced to imprisonment cannot be a director of a social welfare body within three years from the end of or exemption from the execution. According to the law, Lee will not be able to return to the board of the foundation for three years even after he is released from prison.
The Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation is the nation’s largest public foundation with billions of won in assets. Established in 1982, it runs Samsung Seoul Hospital and Samsung Noble County to carry out medical and elderly welfare projects.
Lee took over the chairmanship of the foundation from former chairman Lee Kun-hee in May 2015, served his first three years as chairman of the foundation and renewed his term in May 2018. Under the Social Welfare Services Act, the term of office of directors is set at three years, but there is no limit to the number of term renewals.
The foundation is expected to hold a board meeting next month to determine Lee’s dismissal. The Yongsan-gu Office in Seoul is reportedly considering issuing an administrative order to dismiss Lee if the foundation does not force him to leave the post.