After getting released from prison, Samsung Electronics de facto leader Lee Jae-young left South Korea for a business trip to Europe. Samsung says Lee’s first official activity since getting jailed for nearly a year involves meeting with global business partners.
Yonhap reported Sunday that the controversial Samsung heir went to Europe 45 days after his prison sentence got suspended. Lee previously spent almost a year in jail over bribery and other charges that linked him to the corruption scandal of former South Korea President Park Geun-hye, who was ousted last year.
Lee commenced his business trip last Thursday, March 22, the same day when his company subtly celebrated its 80th anniversary. While in Europe, the 50-year-old official is expected to continue his work that was put on hold when he was sent to prison.
“Lee has left for Europe to seek [and] secure a new engine for growth and meet with global business partners,” the company stated of Lee’s trip. Industry watchers claimed Lee will explore large-scale mergers and acquisitions and new sources for revenues because these were the things he had planned on doing before his imprisonment.
According to Korea Herald, Lee is now making aggressive moves for Samsung as the company’s heir apparent. For instance, he is offloading defense affiliates to technologies and energies business conglomerate Hanwha Group and selling chemical assets to Korean-Japanese conglomerate Lotte Group. Then, he is seeking to foster biotechnology and automobile components businesses.
Meanwhile, it isn’t clear how deeply involved Lee is in the development of Samsung’s next flagship phone following the Galaxy S9. As previously reported, the Galaxy Note 9 is said to be launching with an in-display fingerprint reader — something that Samsung failed to include in its previous flagships starting with last year’s Galaxy S8.
“Samsung Display has prepared three or four solutions for Samsung Electronics to embed the fingerprint sensor inside of the main display, and both are seriously considering one of the solutions,” an industry source was previously quoted as saying.