Vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Jay Y Lee walked free after being detained for a year over bribery charges. He had initially been sentenced to five years in prison.

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman, Jay Y. Lee leaves a court in Seoul, South Korea, February 5, 2018.
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman, Jay Y. Lee leaves a court in Seoul, South Korea, February 5, 2018. (Reuters)

The lawyer for Samsung Group heir Jay Y Lee said on Monday his client plans to appeal to the Supreme Court after he was found guilty of some charges by an appeals court, even though his sentence was suspended and he was able to walk free.

The appeals court on Monday suspended the jail term after a year's detention amid a corruption scandal that brought down the former president.

Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest smartphone and memory chip maker, was convicted of bribery in connection with a corruption scandal.

The 49-year-old was given five years in prison when his original trial concluded in August, making him the first Samsung chief to serve prison time, even though his father was twice convicted of criminal offences and his grandfather was earlier embroiled in scandal.

He had been convicted of a range of offences, including bribery, embezzlement, money laundering and perjury of parliament.

TRT World's Joseph Kim reports from Seoul.

The case centred on payments Samsung made to Park's secret confidante Choi Soon-Sil, with prosecutors arguing they were intended to secure government favours.

But the appeals court on Monday struck out several of the convictions and reduced the penalty on the remainder to a suspended prison sentence of two and a half years.

According to the Korean Herald it was suspended for four years.

"Park Geun-Hye and Choi Soon-Sil should be seen as the main players in this scandal," said the ruling, read out in court by one of the judges.

Four other Samsung Electronics executives convicted alongside Lee also had their convictions reduced, with the two who had been given prison terms similarly having their sentences suspended.

Since his father was left bedridden by a heart attack in 2014, Lee has been the de facto head of the sprawling Samsung group, by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebols that dominate Asia's fourth-largest economy, with its revenues equivalent to around a fifth of the country's GDP.

Source: AFP