Samsung Group’s chief Jay Y. Lee was freed from jail after spending a night behind bars, as a South Korean court on Thursday decided to dismiss an arrest warrant brought forward by a special prosecutor who’s investigating the alleged bribery and corruption of President Park Geun-hye.
The charges against Lee have not been dismissed.
According to legal analysts who talked to Reuters, Lee is still likely to face the same charges of bribery, embezzlement, and perjury, even if he’s not going to be detained.
The prosecutor’s office said that it would continue its probe, but has not decided whether to make another arrest warrant request. The defeat would not hinder the office’s plans to investigate other conglomerates, the report noted.
“After reviewing the contents and the process of the investigation so far … it is difficult to acknowledge the necessity and substantiality of an arrest at the current stage,” the judge overseeing the case said.
“They probably already have as much evidence as they could gather,” lawyer and former prosecutor Lee Jung-jae told Reuters. “They will indict him eventually, but without detention.”
Samsung, meanwhile, said in a statement that it appreciated “the fact that the merits of this case can now be determined without the need for detention.”
Lee is accused of having paid more than $36 million in kickbacks to Park and her confidant Choi Soon-sil, to win the support of the National Pension Service, the third-largest pension organization in the world. The NPS helped Lee push the controversial merger of two Samsung Group affiliates, a move that helped Lee secure his control over the company.
Samsung’s leader left the Seoul Detention Centre carrying a white shopping bag and got into a car without making any statements to the press.