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Samsung Heir Sent Back to Prison for 30 Months in Bribery Case

  • Lee sentenced to two and a half years in jail after court case
  • Samsung succession scandal has rocked South Korea for years
Jay Y. Lee arrives at the Seoul High Court on Jan. 18.
Jay Y. Lee arrives at the Seoul High Court on Jan. 18.Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
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Samsung Electronics Co. heir Jay Y. Lee was sentenced to 30 months in prison over bribery charges, a dramatic setback for the world’s biggest electronics company as it tries to move beyond a years-long scandal that inflamed outrage over the cozy relationships between government and business.

The Seoul High Court first jailed Lee in 2017 after convicting the billionaire for his role in a corruption scandal that toppled former South Korean president Park Geun-hye. The Samsung Group’s de facto leader served a year in prison, but was released in February 2018 after his original five-year term was cut in half and suspended. The Supreme Court overturned that verdict and ordered a retrial in 2019. Monday’s sentencing, the result of that retrial, sends the top decision maker at the country’s most valuable company back to jail at a time of rising competition and global uncertainty.