But a higher court on Monday cut the sentence to two and a half years and suspended it for four years. Shin Kyuk-ho, the founder of Lotte, was sentenced to four years in prison, while his elder son Shin Dong-joo was acquitted. Lee, who is Jay Y.'s cousin, has been in and out of jail during that period because of complications stemming from a kidney transplant in 2013. "Again, I feel sorry to everyone for not showing my best side". "There were hopes that things were improving during the first trial, when [Lee] got five years".
After his release, Lee said he was heading to hospital to see his father. "The essence of this case is that the defendant passively answered to political power".
But leading conservative newspapers Chosun Ilbo and Joong-Ang Ilbo, which together account for a 70 percent share of the South Korean newspaper market, chose to establish their own lines of defense for Lee. Samsung has gone out ... His absence hasn't impacted Samsung's business, which has posted a series of record financial returns over the past year.
What impact will the Samsung chief's arrest have on the company?However, since his father's heart attack in 2014, he took over the reins of the company as an acting boss in his father's stead.
A lower court convicted Lee of bribing Park for help in strengthening his control of Samsung Electronics, one of the largest conglomerate in the country, and charged him for embezzlement and other charges. The latter was impeached for her role in the scandal.More news: After court blow to regime, clashes erupt in Maldives
The scandal involving Park and her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil broke out in October 2016.
It was widely expected that the government would pardon Lee.
The special prosecutor accused Lee of offering, or promising to offer, a total of 43.3 billion won (39.7 million USA dollars) of bribes in various ways, including the donation to Choi-controlled nonprofit organizations, but the appeals court acknowledged only part of the amount, or 3.6 billion won (3.3 million US dollars), as bribes.
"It's truly disappointing", Park Yong-jin, a National Assembly member from Moon's party, said in a statement.
"The news was encouraging for us as we are doing last-minute works to launch the S9 series", said an employee working for the IT & Mobile Communications division at Samsung.