SEOUL, June 9 (UPI) -- A South Korean court rejected an arrest warrant request for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on Tuesday.
Lee has been under investigation for allegations related to his potential succession for company power.
The Seoul Central District Court also turned down the prosecutors' request to imprison two other former Samsung executives, who were involved in a 2015 merger between two Samsung units.
Wearing a face mask, Lee arrived at the Seoul court early Monday to take part in a nine-hour hearing, where the prosecution demanded Lee, 51, be sent to jail for a second time. Lee waited for the court's decision at a detention center near Seoul. He managed to leave there at around 2:40 a.m. Tuesday.
"The ruling would offer temporary relief for Vice Chairman Lee. But the prosecution may seek a new arrest warrant with some new evidence," said Professor Lee Phil-sang of Seoul National University.
"If not, the court might eventually rule in favor of the prosecution. In other words, Lee and Samsung would have to go through legal risks for quite a long time."
Lee Jae-yong has been accused of accounting fraud and stock manipulation during the country's intro-group merger, which could have helped him strengthen control over the conglomerate.
When Cheil Industries merged with Samsung C&T in 2015, Lee Jae-yong may have artificially inflated the value of Cheil, where he has a 23.2 percent stake. He has no stake in the latter.
Prosecutors claimed that Cheil having a higher value would mean profitable returns for Lee Jae-yong, who is a de-facto leader of the group in place of his bedridden father, Chairman Lee Kun-hee.
In addition, a money-losing subsidiary of Cheil changed its accounting method just ahead of the merger and acquisition to turn a profit, which the prosecution contends is designed to further jack up Cheil's values.
During the 20-month investigation into the case, Lee Jae-yong has continuously denied all the allegations against him.
In early 2017, Lee served time for bribing former South Korean President Park Geun-hye in return for her help to strengthen his grip on Samsung.
He was sentenced to five years in jail, but was let go the next year after an appeals court suspended the sentence. The Supreme Court overturned the verdict last year, sending it back to the high court for review.