South Korea's Court of Appeal has suspended prison sentences imposed against billionaire heirs of Samsung Electronics giant Lee Jae-yong and ordered his immediate release from prison on Monday.
Seoul District Court initially sentenced Lee the 49-year-old was five years in prison in August for bribery in connection with the scandal that toppled the country's president Park Geun-hye.
The appeals court on Monday canceled several sentences and reduced the remaining prison sentence to two and a half years experiments.
Four other Samsung leaders who were sentenced with Lee also received a reduction in sentence, and two others previously imprisoned also suspended their sentence.
The case stems from Samsung's payout to Park's close friend Choi Soon- Sil, the payment accused by the prosecutor is intended to obtain government treatment which benefits Samsung's leader Lee Jae-yong.
Lee pleaded not guilty to allegations that he used Samsung company funds to bribe Park.
He was also found guilty of other offenses, among other things, embezzlement , money laundering, hiding assets abroad and lying to parliament. [gp]