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Samsung Chief: I Used Drug That Killed Michael Jackson

Lee Jae-yong admits in court he partook in propofol many times over 5-year period, says he's 'regretful'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2021 10:20 AM CDT
Samsung Chief 'Deeply Regretful' for Use of Illegal Sedative
In this Nov. 22, 2019, file photo, Lee Jae-yong gets out of a car at the Seoul High Court in Seoul, South Korea.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

(Newser) – More troubles have emerged for Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong, who admitted in court this week he's used a controlled substance illegally—and quite a bit of it. Reuters reports that in Seoul Central District Court on Tuesday, Lee copped to partaking in the sedative propofol more than three dozen times from 2015 to 2020, saying he was "deeply regretful" for using it. "I will ... make sure that this does not happen again," he said, swearing that he hadn't used the drug since his early release from prison in August.

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Lee's legal team says he'd used the drug—the one that ended up killing Michael Jackson, and one that's typically only administered during anesthesia—due to medical reasons, including psychological issues tied to his father being in the hospital and due to his own scandal and conviction on embezzlement and bribery charges. Lee, who said he'd obtained the prescriptions from a hospital in the wealthy Seoul neighborhood of Gangnam, also told the court that the propofol had been part of a skin treatment, per the New York Times.

The staff at the clinic where Lee was given the drug are headed to trial as well, as under South Korean law, both those administering the controlled substance and those receiving it are liable to be prosecuted. Lee, 53, pleaded guilty to charges of using a narcotic for nonmedical purposes, with prosecutors seeking to have him pay a $72,000 fine. A final court ruling is due Oct. 26. Other charges coming down the pike for Lee include ones on stock manipulation and unfair trading, which he has denied. (Read more Lee Jae-yong stories.)

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