South Korean appellate court frees Samsung heir on suspended sentence

Samsung heir gets 5 years for corruption
(Image credit: Chung Sung-jun/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, the Seoul High Court, an appellate court, reduced the sentence of Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong to two and a half years from five and suspended the remaining sentence, allowing Lee to walk free after a year in jail on bribery, embezzlement, perjury, and other corruption-related charges. Prosecutors had sought a 12-year sentence for Lee, arguing that he bribed foundations operated by Choi Soon-sil in return for business help from Choi's friend, former President Park Geun-hye, who was impeached and removed from office in a broader corruption scandal. Lee's case will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court now.

The appellate court upheld some of the charges against Lee, meaning that while he may retake his role as de facto chairman of Samsung Electronics, the jewel of the Samsung corporate empire, he won't be able to leave South Korea without permission from a judge. Samsung's share price rose on the news of Lee's release.

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