S Korea top court returns Samsung heir's bribery case for review

August 29, 2019 15:10
A ruling by South Korea's top court on a bribery case pertaining to Samsung's de facto boss Jay Y. Lee (seen here in a file picture) casts uncertainty on whether he can continue to steer the group. Photo: Reuters

South Korea’s top court on Thursday overturned part of an appeals court ruling in the bribery case of Samsung Group’s de facto chief Jay Y. Lee, who had been given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for seeking favor from the country’s ex-leader, Reuters reports.

The Supreme Court said the interpretation by the Seoul High Court on what constituted bribes by Samsung to then-President Park Geun-hye was too narrow, according to the report.

The case centered on whether three horses donated by Samsung Group for the training of the competitive equestrian daughter of Park’s friend should be considered bribes aimed at winning the president’s favor.

The Supreme Court said the appeals court erred in not recognizing the horses as bribes given by Samsung to win favors.

Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, was sentenced in 2017 to five years imprisonment for bribing a friend of Park as he sought to succeed his father and secure control of Samsung Group.

He was freed after a year in detention when the appellate Seoul High Court halved his sentence and suspended it for four years.

Lee, who denies wrongdoing, and prosecutors both appealed.

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