Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong released from jail

In an unexpected turn, Lee is free after only after having served less than a year of his five-year jail sentence

Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong is a free man.

On Monday morning, a South Korean appeals court suspended Lee’s jail sentence after he had served less than a year behind bars.

The country’s lower court had originally sentenced Lee to a five-year jail term for his involvement in a corruption scandal involving former South Korean president Park Geun-hye.

Prosecutors originally sought a 12-year jail term for Lee, hoping to set a precedent for South Korea’s family-owned multinational corporations, known as chaebols.

Moving forward, Lee will spend the next four years on probation.

The appeals court judge ruled Lee was in “passive compliance to political power.” The judge concluded Samsung Electronics executives were threatened into giving bribes, and that Lee couldn’t deny a request from the president and her confidant.

The suspended sentence is fueling doubts in South Korea over whether the country can enforce reforms on chaebols like Samsung, LG and Hyundai.

Source: Bloomberg