Samsung Heir Freed From Jail

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Five-year sentence for charges, including bribery and embezzlement, halved, meaning Lee does not have to serve any more prison time.

Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong has been freed from jail after a South Korean court suspended his five-year jail term for bribing the country’s ex-president.

Ahn Young-joon/AP

Seoul High Court upheld parts of the conviction but used its discretion to release the executive.

Prosecutors may challenge the decision in the country’s supreme court.

The case gripped the public amid growing anger against the country’s biggest companies, known as ‘chaebols’, and their influence on wider society.

In Monday’s hearing, the court halved Lee’s original sentence to two and a half years – and suspended the sentence for charges, including bribery and embezzlement, meaning he does not have to serve any more prison time.

Despite his release, Lee plans to appeal against the remaining guilty verdicts, his lawyer said.


Last year a lower court jailed Lee for corruption in a political scandal that ultimately brought down former President Park Geun-hye.

The Samsung Electronics vice chairman, who is also known as Jay Y Lee, had been convicted of a range of offences, including bribery and embezzlement.

The scandal exposed the ties between family-run conglomerates and political powers.

Samsung Electronics is regarded as the jewel in the crown of the Samsung Group conglomerate, which is made up of 60 interlinked companies.

Lee has effectively directed operations at the mobile phone and chip maker since his father, Lee Kun-hee, was incapacitated by a heart attack in 2014.

Earlier reports:

Aug 29, Samsung Scion Lee Appeals Against Fivce-Year Jail Term for Bribery

Aug 8, Samsung Scion Lee Fights Back Tears as Prosecutors Seek 12 Years’ Jail