Vice Chairman Samsung Electronics Lee Jae-yong, illegally anaesthetic drug

Samsung's CEO found guilty and penalized for anesthetic usage.

Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of South Korea's Samsung business, was convicted of illegally using the anesthetic propofol.

Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of South Korea's huge Samsung business, was convicted Tuesday of illegally using the anesthetic propofol, the multibillionaire's latest legal setback.

Lee, the vice chairman of the world's largest smartphone manufacturer Samsung Electronics and the world's 238th wealthiest person according to Forbes, was fined 70 million won ($60,000) by the Seoul Central District Court, a spokeswoman said.

Vice Chairman Samsung Electronics Lee Jae-yong, illegally anaesthetic drug
Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of South Korea's Samsung business, was convicted of illegally using the anesthetic propofol.

He was found guilty of taking the anaesthesia hundreds of times over several years at a plastic surgery clinic in Seoul.

Usage is typically regarded as a minor offense in South Korea, and prosecutors initially proposed fining him 50 million won under a summary indictment, a technique that avoids judicial proceedings in less serious instances.

"The quantity injected is quite large, and the nature of the crime committed is not trivial in light of the defendant's social responsibilities," judge Jang Young-chae told the Yonhap news agency.

Lee was fined 70 million won and ordered to surrender 17 million won in assets, and he was urged to "practice exemplary behavior that would not shame your children."

When his trial began earlier this month, he apologized to the court for "creating such distress and anxiety as a result of my personal situation," but maintained the injection was "for medicinal purposes."

Though the pecuniary punishment is small for the 53-year-old, the propofol case has been a source of shame for Samsung and Lee, who has been embroiled in legal battles for five years, including a huge corruption scandal.

The early release was viewed as the latest instance of South Korea releasing business heavyweights imprisoned for corruption or tax cheating on economic grounds.