On Monday an appeals court in South Korea suspended the jail sentence of Jay Y. Le the heir to the Samsung Group fortune. The decision set Lee free following a yearlong detention amidst a corruption scandal, which brought the former president down.
The Seoul High Court sentenced Lee to 30 months behind bars, reducing the original sentencing by 50% and suspended the previous court’s sentence that included embezzlement and bribery of four years, which means he will not have to serve any further time as long as he stays on the straight and narrow.
Lee, who is 49, is the heir to one of the largest corporate empires in the world and has been held behind bars since February of 2017.
Lee told reporters following his release that the time he spent in jail was useful. He said he felt sorry for not showing his best side and used the time locked up to reflect on himself.
Lee added that he must visit his sick father, Lee Kun-hee, the patriarch of the Samsung Group, who in 2014 suffered a severe heart attack.
One analyst in London said the return of the owner was a positive thing for the company. He added that it could be a good thing that Lee returns to set standards during a period of rapid change.
Shares in Samsung Electronics, the flagship of the group, of which Lee is currently vice chairman, ended Monday up 0.5% after opening lower.
In March of 2017, President Park Geun-hye was ousted after being impeached in a scandal case that brought scrutiny to the close ties between the chaebols or corporate giants owned by families and South Korea’s political leaders.
Former President Park, who continues to deny any wrongdoing, is on trial for bribery, coercion and abuse of power.
In August, a lower South Korean court convicted Lee of bribing then President Park through supporting the daughter of one of Park’s friend’s in her equestrian career, in exchange for help in strengthening Lee’s control of the company, which is the flagship of the largest conglomerate in South Korea and one of the largest tech companies in the world.
However, the appeals court ruled that Lee did not directly solicit any help. It said as well that just 3.6 billion won had been paid in bribes, and not the 7.2 billion won the lower court had ruled.