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SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee has replaced his lawyer ahead of an appeal against the five-year jail term he was given for bribery and other charges, a spokesman for his law firm said on Thursday.

Attorney Song Wu-cheol was replaced by Lee In-jae, a more senior representative attorney at law firm Bae, Kim & Lee LLC to “reinforce” the executive’s legal team, the spokesman said without elaborating.

Jay Y. Lee, the 49-year-old billionaire heir to one of the world’s biggest corporate empires, was detained in February on charges that he bribed then-president Park Geun-hye to help him secure control of the conglomerate that owns Samsung Electronics, the world’s leading smartphone and chip maker.

The appeals court is expected to make its ruling around January, with hearings likely to begin this month.

The attorney Lee has served as chief judge at several courts including Seoul Central District Court before moving to the law firm in 2010, according to his profile on the law firm’s website.

His major practice areas include finance and corporate criminal matters.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Stephen Coates

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