Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, the Seoul High Court announced on Monday, as cited by the Yonhap news agency.
According to the prosecution, he provided over $38 million to Choi Soon-sil, an associate of ex-Korean President Park Geun-hye, in return for state support of a merger between Samsung's two subsidiaries - Cheil Industries Inc. and Samsung C&T Corporation.
Lee was originally sentenced to five years in 2017 and even spent one year in prison, but his sentence was suspended on appeal and reduced in 2018, so the businessman was released. According to him, Samsung made the donations without seeking profits.
In 2019, the Supreme Court returned the case to the high court, stating the amount of Lee's bribes had been undervalued, as Samsung bought at least three horses for Choi's daughter and also funded a winter sports foundation run by Choi's niece.
Ex-President Park and her confidant Choi are currently serving prison terms of 22 years and 18 years, respectively.