Lee Jae-yong might head back to his office this weekAfter wrapping up his post-jail jaunt around the world, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong might start work at the company’s headquarters in Suwon this week.
The de facto leader of Korea’s most valuable company returned to Seoul Saturday morning via Tokyo. Lee was on a 16-day business trip across Europe and Canada, his first overseas journey since he was released from police custody in early February.
When reporters waiting for him at Incheon International Airport asked Lee questions about his trip and business plans, he only said, “You must have had a hard time because of me. It’s cold,” and left in hurry, according to media reports.
Samsung sources said that Lee traveled from Paris to Geneva and then Toronto on his private jet. Who he met and which business operations he visited during the trip is still unknown. Lee was spotted at a restaurant run by a Korean-American chef in Toronto last week.
Before he left on the trip, Lee stayed out of public view, and was only seen once while visiting his father, bedridden Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who has been staying at the Samsung Medical Center since he suffered a heart attack in 2015. His son received reports on business without commuting to work since early February.
“We don’t know exactly when Vice Chairman Lee will be coming to the office,” said a Samsung official. Sources added that Lee is expected to keep a low profile at the company’s headquarters for the foreseeable future.
Despite their record-high earnings posted for the first quarter, Samsung faces continuing legal problems. Prosecutors recently launched a probe into whether the company’s management tried to sabotage employees’ efforts to strengthen labor unions.
By Seo Ji-eun