Samsung's Lee Jae-yong released from prison

2018 captures Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong arriving at the Seoul High Court to attend his appeals trial over bribery in connection with a scandal that removed former President Park Geun-hye from office last year

2018 captures Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong arriving at the Seoul High Court to attend his appeals trial over bribery in connection with a scandal that removed former President Park Geun-hye from office last year

The appeals court halved Lee's sentence to two-and-a-half years, suspended for four years.

Samsung executives said that Lee's comments during trials could set the tone for managing the conglomerate going forward. "The past year has been a valuable time for me to reflect upon myself".

Lee's case brought down the government of former President Park Geun-Hye, and he has been in jail for almost a year.

The lower court found him guilty on all five counts, but acknowledged only part of the bribes and tossed the pledged amount that was never paid.

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The appeals court judge ruled Lee was in "passive compliance to political power".

According to reports, the case is now likely to go to the country's Supreme Court, where prosecutors are expected to ask that the appeals court ruling be overturned, and his attorneys are likely to continue to ask that the charges against him be thrown out. The heir to one of the largest corportate empires had been in detention since February 2017 on widespread corruption charges that ousted the country's former president past year.

One of the key platforms of the Moon Jae-in administration, that took power after the impeachment of Park, is corporate reform - a reflection of the disgust many Koreans feel for the consistent power abuse and corruption involving the chaebol, the giant family run conglomerates that dominate the Korean economy.

Prosecutors demanded a sentence of 12 years while lawyers for the Samsung boss said he was a victim of extortion by Park.

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He pleaded not guilty to charges that he used Samsung corporate funds to bribe Ms Park and a confidante, seeking to consolidate his control over Samsung and facilitate a smooth transfer of corporate leadership from his father.

The judge said he concluded that Park "browbeat" Samsung's executives into giving bribes, while Lee couldn't resist the request from the president and her confidante. Beyond the legal charges, she is being blamed for both effectively bringing down the government of President Park and leaving her reputation and political legacy in tatters. He is the third son of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul.

Choi is in custody on charges of meddling in state affairs without holding a government position and using her connections with the president to extort vast sums of money from many of South Korea's best-known companies.

While sources have told BBC News that Samsung's share price hasn't really been affected by Lee's imprisonment in the short term, the fact he's now been released is going to be a relief to many.

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While Lee was in detention, Samsung Electronics appointed new leaders and continued to outperform.

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