Generally speaking, inmates who have served more than 60% of their sentence are eligible for parole. However, the law is different regarding imprisoned social leaders, government officials, and business people, as they are required by law to serve 90% of their sentence before being eligible for parole.
By August 15, Lee Jae-yong will have served 60% of his sentence. According to the chairman of the Democratic Party of Korea, this makes Samsung’s chairman eligible for parole.
Lee Jae-yong has other trials that need to be considered
Lee is serving 2.5 years in prison for a bribery case involving South Korea’s former president, but he’s also being trialed for a controversial Samsung merger with Cheil Industries back in 2015.
With that in mind, even if Lee could be released on parole, he might be sent back to jail due to other ongoing trials. Either way, it would be technically easier for Lee Jae-yong to be paroled rather than pardoned by the president himself, as more than a dozen prisoners are being reviewed and released on parole every year.
Many other industry watchers argue that Lee Jae-yong should be released from prison, as strong leadership is critical to combatting the COVID crisis and the global semiconductor shortage.
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