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Samsung heir released from prison on parole, report says

Jay Y. Lee, who was Samsung's de facto head, served time for charges related to bribery.

Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung

Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung, arrives at the Seoul Central District Court in January. 

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Samsung's de facto leader was reportedly released from prison Friday. Jay Y. Lee, who had been serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence for bribery charges, was granted parole at a Monday review meeting, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing South Korea's justice ministry. 

Lee was Samsung's vice chairman and had acted acted as the company's de facto head since his father, Lee Kun-Hee, suffered a heart attack in 2014. He faced up to 12 years in prison after being charged with bribery in 2017. The case was part of a corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of former South Korean president Park Geun-hye. 

The case has taken several twists. Lee was originally sentenced to five years in prison in 2017, but that was later reduced to two and a half years before being suspended. The country's Supreme Court ordered a retrial, and Lee was sentenced to 30 months in prison, which started in January. 

Under South Korean law, Lee reportedly won't be able to work for five years and faces restrictions on overseas travel. The Justice Ministry can grant exceptions, but it's unclear if that will happen, according to the Journal. 

Lee is also facing a separate trial related to a controversial 2015 merger and alleged accounting fraud tied to his succession bid at the electronics giant.  

Samsung didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.