Samsung heir and Vice Chairman, Lee Jae-yong has been released from a South Korean prison.
Gatekeepers News News reports that Lee, who served 207 days in jail for bribery and embezzlement, is now on parole.
Lee, 53, has been Samsung Electronics’ de facto head since 2014, a company founded by his grandfather.
He was sent to prison for two-and-a-half years by a high court in January, for a case that involved the country’s former President Park Guen-hye, who is also in jail for bribery and corruption.
Lee allegedly paid 43bn won ($37.7m; £26.7m) to two non-profit foundations operated by Choi Soon-sil, a friend of Park’s, in exchange for political support and backing for a controversial Samsung merger which paved the way for Lee to become eventual head of the conglomerate.
The deal needed support from the government-run national pension fund.
The court concluded that Lee “actively provided bribes and implicitly asked the president to use her power to help his smooth succession” at the head of Samsung.
Lee was found guilty of bribery, embezzlement and concealment of criminal proceeds worth about 8.6 billion won ($7.8m; £5.75m).
On why Lee was released, Justice Ministry said it considered the effects of the pandemic on South Korea’s economy and global markets.
In a statement, President Moon Jae-in’s office said his release was made in the national interest and asked for understanding.
“We are well aware that there are supporting and opposing views on Vice-Chairman Jay Y Lee’s parole. The views of the people who are opposed are also right,” it said.
“On the other hand, there have been many people who called for his parole in this severe crisis, hoping that he will help the country with respect to semiconductors and vaccines.”
Lee, while speaking to reporters outside the prison, said: “I’ve caused much concern for the people. I deeply apologise,” Lee said.
“I am listening to the concerns, criticisms, worries and high expectations for me. I will work hard.”
Gatekeepers News reports that Lee’s parole conditions include five years of business restrictions. It is not immediately clear if he will be permitted to run the company.
Lee will also need approval for any trips abroad.
He is also under investigation for fraud and stock manipulation and if found guilty could be jailed again.