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Samsung heir Jay Lee released from prison following successful appeal

Lee had been in prison after being convicted by a lower court on bribery charges.

Published onFebruary 5, 2018

  • Lee had originally been sentenced to five years in prison in August.
  • This was reduced to a two and a half year suspended sentence by the Seoul High Court.
  • His release on Monday means he spent a total of 353 days in prison.

Despite the record profits, sky-high share prices, and critically acclaimed phones, not everything went smoothly for Samsung in 2017. This is because in August, the acting head of the company, Lee Jae-yong (also known in the West as Jay Lee), was sentenced to five years in prison on bribery charges.

However, the good news for Samsung is that Lee was released on Monday after the Seoul High Court reduced his original five-year sentence to a two and a half year suspended sentence. All in all, Lee spent 353 days in prison.

Lee, the 49-year son of ailing Samsung head  Lee Kun-hee, was originally found guilty of a number of bribery and corruption-related charges, including that of offering money to former president Park Geun-hye in return for her help in attempts to consolidate his control over the Samsung group. This was a move that was said would help his leadership succession. However, according to Yonhap News, the latest ruling put the primary blame on former president Park Geun-hye and her friend Choi Soon-sil.

What impact will the Samsung chief's arrest have on the company?

“We respect the court’s courage and wisdom to have delivered a not-guilty verdict for our client over the key charges,” Lee’s lawyers said. “Yet we will do our best in the next court proceeding to have the remaining charges cleared.”

While Samsung has clearly been getting on fine in the short term without Lee at the helm, there were questions about what would happen in the longer term should his conviction have been upheld. However, this will no longer be a worry as Lee’s immediate release means he will be free to take up his position again.