FILE PHOTO: Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman, Jay Y. Lee, arrives at Seoul high court in Seoul, South Korea, October 25, 2019.    REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman, Jay Y. Lee, arrives at Seoul high court in Seoul.
  • Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman and de facto leader of Samsung, has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
  • Lee was originally sent to jail in 2017 for five years, but his sentence was cut short and suspended in 2018.
  • He was accused of bribing a friend of the former South Korean president to win support for his succession at Samsung.
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Samsung vice chairman and de facto leader Jay Y. Lee was on Monday sent back to prison for two and a half years over bribery charges.

Lee has been the de facto head of Samsung Electronics since his father, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, was hospitalized following a heart attack in 2014. Lee Kun-hee died in October last year.

Jay Y. Lee was initially sentenced to five years in jail in 2017 for his part in a corruption scandal that brought down South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye.

Lee, 52, was accused of offering horses and other bribes to a friend of Park in the hope of winning government support for his succession at Samsung. He was also found guilty of embezzlement.

Park is serving a 20 year in prison sentence in connection with the case as well as other charges.

Lee served just one year in prison before being released in February 2018, after the Seoul High Court cut his five-year sentence in half and suspended it. 

Monday's ruling is a result of the country's Supreme Court overturning the lower court's decision to suspend the Lee's sentence and ordering a retrial in 2019. Returning to jail could mean Lee is forced off the Samsung board and would not be considered in major decisions at the company.

Samsung didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment about future leadership at the company.

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Shares of Samsung Electronics dropped 3.4% Monday after Lee's sentencing. 

"This case is, in essence, a violation of corporation's rights to freedom and property by the former president abusing her power," Injae Lee, the lawyer leading the vice chairman's defense team, told CNN. "I find the court's decision regrettable."

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