SEOUL, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Imprisoned Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has been banned from working for Samsung Group, South Korea's largest conglomerate.
The Justice Ministry on Wednesday notified Lee, de facto chief of the company, that he will not be able to work at a public institution or at any outfit related to his crimes for five years after being released.
Lee, 52, is serving a 30-month sentence for bribing former President Park Geun-hye to strengthen his grip on Samsung. He is scheduled for release in July 2022 because he served about a year in 2017.
The ban means Lee cannot work for Samsung through 2027 -- unless he gets a pardon from President Moon Jae-in, lawyer Roh Jong-hwa told UPI News Korea.
Lee's father, former Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who died late last year, received a pardon in 2008 after being sentenced to a suspended jail term for multiple charges, including embezzlement.
Lee Jae-yong has spearheaded Samsung, whose Samsung Electronics affiliate is the world's largest maker of memory chips and smartphones, since his father collapsed with a heart attack in 2014.
Upon his father's death, Lee Jae-yong became the country's richest person, worth more than $7 billion.
How the ban will practically play out remains to be seen.
Hanwha Chairman Kim Seung-yeon retreated from leadership roles in 2014 under a five-year restriction from the Justice Ministry after receiving a suspended jail term for embezzlement.
But SK Chairman Chey Tae-won continued to head that company even after the Justice Ministry's restriction, claiming that he can work for SK because he did not receive any compensation.
SK is the country's third-largest conglomerate in terms of assets, while Hanwha is the No. 7 player.
Lee Jae-yong has not received compensation from Samsung Electronics since 2017.
Korea University Professor Kim Woo-chan, director of the Solidarity for Economic Reform, a progressive civic group, said Lee Jae-yong should resign from Samsung.
But Seoul University business Professor Lee Phil-sang said the rule should be applied in a flexible manner.
"If Lee Jae-yong does not receive any compensation from Samsung, he should be allowed to work for Samsung in tandem with the case of SK Chairman Chey Tae-won," the professor said.
"Anyway, he will continue to practically head Samsung no matter where he is located," he said.
Samsung Electronics officials declined to comment on the ban.