SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A court has convicted South Korea’s former health minister of pressuring the country’s pension fund to support a merger of two Samsung companies.

The merger was crucial in Samsung’s father-to-son leadership succession but faced opposition from U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management and other minority shareholders. Support from the National Pension Service was crucial to ensure shareholder approval.

The Seoul Central District Court said Thursday that Moon Hyung-pyo, the former health chief who oversaw the National Pension Service, was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison. He was found guilty of abusing power to sway the pension fund’s vote on the 2015 merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries.

The ruling is among the first on key players in the corruption scandals that ensnared the country’s ousted president and Samsung’s heir.