UPDATED, 8:25 PM: Lee Jae-yong, the powerful South Korean businessman known as the de facto head of Samsung, will be released from jail on Friday, South Korea’s Ministry of Justice has announced.
Lee was arrested last year after a warrant was filed, citing charges of market manipulation and accounting fraud. The Seoul High Court later found him guilty of embezzlement and bribery, and sentenced him to two and a half years in prison.
The executive is one of more than 800 prisoners set to be granted parole on August 13th in commemoration of Liberation Day. The holiday, celebrated annually on August 15, marks the country’s liberation in 1945 from Japanese colonial rule, and is traditionally the day when pardons are issued.
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Whether or not Lee will be allowed to resume work as Samsung’s vice chairman is not yet clear.
PREVIOUSLY, JUNE 4: Lee Jae-yong, the powerful South Korean businessman who serves as the de facto head of Samsung, is set to be arrested by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office after an arrest warrant was filed citing charges of market manipulation and accounting fraud.
Lee is the third wealthiest person in South Korea with a fortune estimated at $7.9B. He is the eldest son of Lee Kun-hee, Samsung’s chairman, and is expected to be his father’s future successor.
According to BusinessKorea, the charges stem from the merger between Samsung C&T and chemical and textiles company Cheil Industries in 2015. Prosecutors allege that the value of Samsung BioLogics, the biopharmaceutical unit of Samsung Group, was deliberately overinflated by fraudulent accounting to allow Lee to take control of the wider group.
Lee has previously run afoul of the law, landing five years in prison back in 2017 on bribery charges; he was released in February 2018 on appeal.
The exec has, however, received some more positive write-ups during the coronavirus pandemic through his efforts to get Samsung producing COVID-19 testing kits and significant donations of aid and resources to fight the virus.