Samsung’s successor, Lee Jae-yong, has been released from South Korean prison and is currently on parole
He served 207 days in prison on charges of bribery and embezzlement, more than half of his January sentence.
The case involved former President Park Geun-hye, who was imprisoned on bribery and corruption charges.
Samsung Electronics was founded by Lee’s grandfather and has been the de facto leader since 2014.
Lee made a brief statement to reporters outside the prison.
“I’ve offended people a lot. I’m so sorry,” Lee said. “I listen to concerns, criticisms, concerns and high expectations for me. I will work hard.”
The 53-year-old man was sentenced to two and a half years in prison by the high court in January.
He was accused of paying 43 billion won ($37.7 million; £26.7 million) in political support to two non-profit foundations run by Park’s friend Choi Soon-sil. The way Lee runs the holding.
Lee Jae-yong: Samsung heir released from prison on parole:
The deal required support from a government-run national pension fund.
When the verdict was announced, the court said that Lee “bribed and therefore wanted to assist Samsung’s authorized successor”.
The court found Lee guilty of bribery, embezzlement and concealment of criminal proceeds worth approximately 8.6 billion won ($7.8 million; £5.75 million).
The Justice Department said it decided to release Lee given the impact of the pandemic on the South Korean economy and global markets.
President Moon Jae’s office said in a statement that his release was in the national interest and asked for understanding.
“We know very well that there are supportive and conflicting views regarding the parole of Vice President Jay Y Lee. The views of those who oppose it are also correct,” the statement said.
On the other hand, there were many who sought his parole in this severe crisis, hoping to help the country with semiconductors and vaccines.
However, Lee’s probation covers five years of employment restrictions – it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to run the company unless there’s an exception.
You will also need approval for any of your overseas trips.
Lee is also under investigation for fraud and stock manipulation and could be re-arrested if found guilty.
This is an economic decision of the South Korean Ministry of Justice. Unleash Samsung’s successor and help the country heal Covid. But it has political value.
President Moon Jae-in came to power with a firm promise to cut ties between big corporations and the government.
Millions of people have been protesting for months to accuse his predecessor, Park Geun-hye, and more than a thousand citizen groups have written a letter asking for the so-called “Samsung Crown Prince” not to be pardoned.
But the pressure to release Jay Y Lee came from the US Chamber of Commerce along with Samsung. American companies argued that its release was vital to combat the computer chip shortage. Samsung is currently investing billions of dollars in semiconductor devices in the United States.
It should also be noted that earlier this year the law was amended to allow prisoners to be released on parole after serving 60% of their sentence. This allowed Mr. Lee to be released today. He was not forgiven.
But as the presidential election season kicks off in South Korea, the current administration predicts voters will reward the ruling party for more economic decisions than previous promises.
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