Samsung heir Jay Y Lee freed from South Korean jail

Samsung heir Jay Y Lee freed from South Korean jail

In August, a lower court sentenced Lee to five years for giving 8.8 billion won (€6.5 million) in bribes to Park, who quit in March after her impeachment, and her confidante, Choi Soon-sil.

Lee, who had pled not guilty at trial, was convicted a year ago of paying millions of dollars in bribes to a confidante of impeached former president Park Geun-hye in order to win favor for a merger between group companies.

His sentencing confirmed what had always been suspected: links between the nation's most successful and renowned company and the country's government. The Seoul court had also found him guilty of hiding assets overseas, embezzlement and perjury.

Back in 2008, Lee's father, Lee Kun-hee, was found guilty on charges of financial wrongdoing and tax evasion.

Meanwhile, Lee's lawyer said his client would appeal part of the court ruling that found him guilty of some of the charges, saying the merger that resulted in further consolidating his power at Samsung had been completed to improve business at the world's largest smartphone maker.

Lee is expected to make public appearances in the coming days. He will be on probation for four years, the court said. Lee's grandfather, who had founded Samsung, was also investigating for a smuggling case, but was never prosecuted.

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A software engineer working at a Samsung workplace in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province said, "It was nearly a taboo for us to talk about it while in office, so not many are displaying their feelings right now". Neither Lee nor Samsung shared any immediate comment on the dismissal of the case.

One of the judges who suspended Lee's sentence said Park had pressured the corporate leader to sponsor equestrian sports, which could have a bearing on Park's verdict, legal experts said. "Lee was portrayed as a key criminal in the downfall of a president impeached for the corruption, but the fact that he gets such a mild sentence means his offense must have been minor, and this, in turn, casts doubt on the fairness of the whole impeachment process".

While Lee was in detention, Samsung Electronics appointed new leaders and continued to outperform.

This isn't the first instance where a top executive was allowed to walk free after he was accused of or convicted of corruption in South Korea.

Special prosecutors said that the Samsung heir arranged the deal during three face-to-face meetings with Park between 2014 and 2016.

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