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Samsung Electronics chairman found guilty of union sabotage

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Lee Sang-hoon has been sentenced to 18 months in prison

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Lee Sang-hoon, the chairman of Samsung Electronics’ board, has been found guilty of violating South Korea’s labor union laws and sentenced to 18 months in prison, the Financial Times reports. Prosecutors said that Lee, along with around 24 other current and former Samsung officials, used a variety of tactics to discourage union activity, including threatening to cut wages and withdrawing business to union-friendly subcontractors.

Although The Wall Street Journal reports that the ruling is unlikely to impact Samsung’s investors, the FT says that it will put pressure on the company to improve its corporate culture. Samsung’s anti-union stance means that few have historically existed within its business. However, last year, the company recognized a 1,000-person labor union, and last month, Samsung Electronics employees established a new union under one of South Korea’s labor union umbrella groups.