Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee is being sent back to prison for two and a half years over bribery charges.
Bloomberg reports that this latest decision wraps up a court battle that began four years ago. In 2017, Lee was sentenced to jail for five years but walked free after a year once his sentence was suspended on appeal.
South Korea’s Supreme Court overturned the decision in August 2019 and ordered a retrial and this sentencing is the result of that retrial. In the final hearing, Lee promised to create a “new Samsung” and to not repeat past wrongdoings.
Lee was found guilty of using his wealth to influence former South Korean President Park Geun-Hye on several of Samsung’s business interests. This includes a merger of two of the company’s units.
He was accused of offering payments to a friend of Park to gain support for his formal succession at Samsung. Prosecutors had originally wanted a 12-year prison sentence for Lee. Park was sentenced to 20 years in prison for several charges including bribery related to Samsung.
It’s worth noting that this latest decision sends the company’s top official back to jail during a time when there is global uncertainty amid the pandemic and rising competition.