The decision clears the way for Korea’s most prominent business scion to officially take the reins of the world’s biggest maker of memory chips and smartphones. Lee’s return is regarded as a stabilizing force for a Korean economy buffeted by inflation, market disruption from the war in Ukraine and logistics snarls triggered by China’s Covid lockdowns. Rising tensions between the US and China over chip technology also complicate long-term plans for Samsung, which runs major fabs in the two largest economies.
In 2021, Lee was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail for his role in scandal involving then-South Korean President Park Geun-hye. He was found guilty of handing bribes worth almost £30m to Geun-hye and her close friend Choi Soon-sil to win government favours for a smooth leadership transition. Lee spent 18 months in prison before being released on parole.
“In a bid to overcome the economic crisis by vitalizing the economy, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, whose suspended prison term was ended recently, will be reinstated,” the Korean government said.
The special pardon granted to Lee will take effect as of August 15th, South Korea's independence anniversary. Lee apologized to the public on Friday, promising to "start anew". Under conditions of his parole, Lee would not have been able to take up employment for five years.
The post of chairman of Samsung has been vacant ever since his father Lee Kun-hee passed away in October 2020 and it's possible that Lee will seek to takeover this role.
More details in the full report linked below...