Daria Bedenko. Sputnik International
Lee Jae-yong, the Samsung Electronics vice chairman, was convicted of bribing a friend of former President Park Geun-hye. He has served 18 months of his revised 30-month sentence.
Samsung exec Lee Jae-yong was released on parole on Friday, leaving the Seoul Detention Center at around 10:00 a.m.
“I’ve caused much concern for the people. I deeply apologize,” Lee told reporters after leaving prison. “I am listening to the concerns, criticisms, worries, and high expectations for me. I will work hard.”
The South Korean Justice Ministry announced the decision to grant parole to the Samsung leader earlier in the week. He is among 810 other people who will be released from prison ahead of South Korea’s National Liberation Day, celebrated on 15 August.
VIDEO: The jailed de facto leader of Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, walks free on parole.
Lee was serving a two-and-a-half year sentence for bribery, embezzlement and offences in connection with the corruption scandal that brought down ex-South Korean president Park Geun-hye pic.twitter.com/ETNMELTSEx
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 13, 2021
Lee has already served 18 months of a revised 30-month sentence. Initially, he served a year of a five-year sentence that was announced in August 2017 but later suspended. After the decision was overturned, Lee was sent back to prison in January this year.
He was accused of bribing a friend of former President Park Geun-hye with millions of dollars that he embezzled from Samsung.
Calls for his release on parole were supported by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry along with Samsung itself and business leaders and members of the government of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who insisted that Samsung has an important role in the national economy and needs Lee’s concentration on leading the company. Some argued that Lee’s imprisonment compromised Samsung’s development.