Such claims were effectively undermined by Lee Jae-yong himself, who claimed in his trial past year not to be actively involved in the running of his behemoth company. The past year has been a time for me to look back on myself.
Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, speaks before leaving a detention center in Uiwang, South Korea. The lower court had said Lee embezzled that amount from Samsung to bribe Choi.
The cloud of controversy, however, may mean Lee will take a lower profile, said Kim, the former prosecutor.
The trial, which was carried out previous year, was one that transfixed South Korea - where it was dubbed "trial of the century".
In 2017, it also released the Galaxy S8 and Note 8.
What impact will the Samsung chief's arrest have on the company?
Lee is expected to make public appearances in the coming days. He has a net worth of nearly $6 billion (£4.9 billion).
The games, which run through February 25 in the alpine resort town 180 kilometers east of the capital city, is expected to be the biggest in history.
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Cover image: Samsung Electronics vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong meets dignitaries at an event in 2014.
"Power-business collusion is not found here", the judge said.
"This may be a fearless decision by the court to look at solid evidence rather than public opinion". None other than Samsung.
"However, this type of framing is not good for [chaebol] investors, let alone the overall South Korean economy", Jun said. He has spent close to a year in detention and has been released for the next four years on probation. Claims that he has been a successful leader are questionable.
There have been concerns that Lee's absence was causing holdups in the making of key decisions at the business group, which could bode ill for the future.
The earlier ruling against Lee was seen as a departure from the previous court cases that had been criticized for being too soft toward white-collar crime and toward executives of chaebol, the big conglomerates that helped South Korea's rapid industrialization.
He also expressed hope that Samsung will make more efforts to expand investments and create jobs. The Suwon, South Korea-based company took the opportunity to unveil a 50-to-1 stock split, which sent its shares surging. Lee denied any legal wrongdoing and appealed the original sentence, saying he never sought to unseat his father as Samsung Electronics chairman in the first place.