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South Korea's top court returns Samsung heir Lee's bribery case for review

FILE PHOTO: Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee speaks at the company's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, June 23, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s Supreme court on Thursday overturned part of an appeals court ruling in the bribery case of Samsung Group’s de facto chief Jay Y. Lee, who had been given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for seeking favor from the country’s ex-leader.

The Supreme Court said the interpretation by the Seoul High Court on what constituted bribes by Samsung to then-President Park Geun-hye was too narrow.

Lee, 51, was initially sentenced in 2017 to five years imprisonment for bribing a friend of former President Park Geun-hye as he sought to succeed his father and secure control of Samsung Group.

He was freed after a year in detention when the appellate Seoul High Court halved his sentence and suspended it for four years.

Reporting by Ju-min Park and Joyce Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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