A South Korean appeals court suspended a jail sentence handed down to billionaire Samsung Electronics heir Lee Jae-young and ordered his immediate release from prison Monday.
The Seoul Central District Court had sentenced the 49-year-old Lee in August to five years in prison for bribery in connection with a scandal that brought down the country's president Park Geun-hye.
The appeals court on Monday struck down several of the convictions and reduced the penalty on the remainder to a suspended prison sentence of two and a half years.
Four other Samsung executives convicted alongside Lee also had their sentences reduced, with the two who had been given prison terms similarly having their sentences suspended.
The case centered on payments Samsung made to Park's secret confidante Choi Soon-Sil for which prosecutors argued they were intended to secure government favors.
Lee pleaded not guilty to charges that he used Samsung corporate funds to bribe Park.
He was also convicted of other offenses, including embezzlement, money laundering, sheltering assets overseas and perjury of parliament.
Prosecutors had sought a 12-year prison term for Lee at the appeals court. The appeals court ruling is expected to be appealed to the country's supreme court.