The jailed heir and de facto leader of Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, will be released on parole this Friday, the South Korean Justice Ministry said on Monday.
The grandson of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul is currently serving a prison term on bribery charges. According to the ministry, he is among 810 people that will be paroled ahead of South Korea’s National Liberation Day, which will be celebrated this Sunday. Lee, who is officially Samsung’s vice chairman, is scheduled to be released at 10 a.m. local time (01:00 GMT).
“The decision to release Lee Jae-yong was made based on various factors, such as his conduct and the public opinion,” the ministry said in a statement, also mentioning the current state of the national and global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On January 18, the Seoul High Court sentenced Lee to two and a half years in prison for bribing Choi Soon-sil, a longtime friend of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, to enlist the government’s support in succeeding his father as Samsung chief.
Samsung and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry demanded Lee be released so that he could concentrate on leading the conglomerate, while several of the country’s civic groups opposed the initiative.