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Samsung leader and vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong has been given a 2.5-year prison sentence for attempting to bribe former president Park Geun-hye. He allegedly tried to facilitate a merger between two business units.

According to ZDNet, Lee tried to bribe President Park to approve the merger of two Samsung-affiliated companies. This would give Lee more power over the conglomerate.

Lee was already sentenced to five years in prison for the attempted bribe in 2017. However, after a court managed to reduce the sentence to two and a half years, he was freed in 2018.

However, the Supreme Court decided to reopen the case in 2019, under the suspicion that some charges against Lee had been wrongly dismissed. Indeed, Lee had also given three horses and other gifts to Park, which were worth approximately 8.6 billion won (6.45 million euros).

Public apology

Lee apologised for the scandal on television last year and set up a compliance committee within Samsung. The Supreme Court, however, doubted the usefulness of this committee and indicated that it was not a factor in the trial.

After the hearing, Lee was immediately taken to prison to serve his sentence.