The prison term was also cut by a half to 2.5 years, although Lee is now free to go on four years of probation. Lee, 49, was the highest-profile business figure to have been embroiled in the that brought down former Korean President Park Geun-hye and inflamed resentment toward the country’s well-connected chaebol.
Prosecutors originally sought a dozen years for Lee, arguing that would help establish the rule of law for a country re-examining ties between government and business. A Seoul court had earlier convicted him of giving a confidante of Park’s thoroughbred horses in the hope it would secure government support for a merger that would help his ascension to the top of the company.
Lee appealed the original sentence and has denied any legal wrongdoing, saying he never sought to unseat his hospitalized father as Samsung Electronics chairman in the first place. He has been behind bars for almost a year.
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