Samsung's Lee receives 30-month prison term

A South Korean court sentenced the de-facto head of Samsung Electronics to two and a half years in jail on Monday.

Jay Y. Lee was found guilty of bribery, embezzlement and concealment of criminal proceeds worth about $7.8 million dollars.

This won't be his first stretch of time in jail.

Lee was first convicted of bribing an associate of former President Park Geun-hye in 2017.

He only ended up serving a year of a 5 year sentence after he was granted an early release on appeal.

The Supreme Court later sent the case back to the Seoul High Court, which handed down this latest ruling on Monday.

Lee's lawyer spoke to reporters outside the court:

"The nature of this case is the former president's abuse of power violating corporate freedom and property rights. Given that nature, the court's decision is regrettable."

Lee has led Samsung - the world's largest smartphone and memory chip maker - since his father was hospitalised after a heart attack in 2014.

The elder Lee died in October, but the chairmanship he held has yet to be filled.

With this sentencing, Lee will be sidelined from major decision making at Samsung as it strives to overtake competitors in areas such as AI.

He'll also be out of overseeing the process of inheritance from his father.

Monday's case had been seen as a test for how South Korea's judiciary treats it's 'chaebol' - its big, family-owned conglomerates.

Samsung and companies like it have been long credited with building Asia's fourth-largest economy but criticized for wielding too much power and influence.

Lee can appeal the sentence at the Supreme Court, but legal experts say that because the court has already ruled on it once, chances are lower that its interpretation will change.