Lee Jae-yong was released after serving only 207 days in prison, just over half the sentence he received after being convicted of corruption and embezzlement in January by the supreme court.
The case involved former country president Park Guen-hye, who was also in jail for extortion and corruption. Samsung Electronics was founded by Lee’s grandfather and has been the de facto boss since 2014. Lee released a brief statement to reporters out of jail.
“I’ve caused a lot of concern for people. I deeply apologize. I am listening to the concerns, criticisms, and high expectations for me. I will work hard “.
53-year-old Lee Jae-yong he was sent to prison for two and a half years by the supreme court in January. He was accused of paying 43 billion won (31.3 million euros) to two non-profit foundations run by Choi Soon-sil, a friend of Park, in exchange for political support, allegedly including support for a controversial Samsung merger that paved the way for Lee to become the eventual head of the conglomerate.
The deal needed support from the government-run national pension fund. At the time of his verdict, the court held that Lee “He actively provided bribes and implicitly asked the president to use his power to help his succession as head of Samsung without any problems or hindrances.”
The court found Lee Jae-yong guilty of corruption, embezzlement and concealment of criminal proceeds worth approximately 8.6 billion won (6.2 million euros). The Ministry of Justice said it had made the decision to release Lee after considering the effects of the pandemic on South Korea’s economy and on global markets.
In a statement, President Moon Jae-in’s office said his release was in the national interest and asked for understanding.
“We are well aware that there are supportive and opposing views on Vice President Jay Y Lee’s probation. The views of the opposing people are also right, ”he said.
“On the other hand, there have been many people who have asked for his probation in this serious crisis, hoping that he will help the country with regards to semiconductors and vaccines.”