South Korea’s highest court ordered the retrial of Samsung Electronics Vice-Chairman Jay Y Lee over bribery charges, reviving legal uncertainty around the company just as it is navigating global trade turmoil.
The Supreme Court voided an earlier decision to suspend Lee’s 2.5-year prison sentence and is sending the case back to the lower court.
Lee may end up going to prison again, having previously served a year after getting arrested in February 2017.
He was released in 2018 after the Seoul High Court halved what had originally been a 5-year term and suspended it for four years.
The Samsung executive was accused of directing tens of millions of dollars to entities controlled by a confidante of Park in return for government support of a 2015 merger that cemented his control of the group.
The court on Thursday also ordered a retrial for Park, who is already in jail, arguing she should face trial on broader bribery charges.
Lee is the designated heir to South Korea’s largest conglomerate and a national icon.