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S. Korea court mulls fresh bid to arrest Samsung heir

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Seoul South Korea

Regardless, Samsung's vice chair might not go to jail even if he is convicted.

Samsung group chief Jay Y. Lee was arrested on Friday by South Korean authorities over his alleged role in one of the nation's biggest corruption scandals involving President Park Geun-hye's close friend Choi Soon-sil. Park ended up being impeached in December as part of this scandal.

In addition to bribery, Lee is accused of obstruction of justice and the violation of a law on the transfer of assets overseas.

Lee will now have to stay at a detention centre in Uiwang, south of Seoul, where he had been awaiting the ruling.

Some analysts said the arrest of Lee may have a limited impact on shares of Samsung Group affiliates, with the group's day-to-day operations managed by senior executives. There's a chance the suspect could destroy evidence or flee, so arresting him is appropriate, a court spokesperson said.

We will do our best to ensure the truth is revealed in future court proceedings.
The plan to reorganize the group under a holding company is created to make Samsung Electronics' power structure within the group more transparent to outsiders. Its offices have been raided several times on suspicion that the presidential office influenced the decision by South Korea's state-run pension fund to back Samsung's merger plan past year.

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Lee, the deputy chairman of Samsung Electronics, became the first leader of South Korea's largest business group to be held over a criminal probe, the Yonhap news agency reported. He is being detained over claims of bribing South Korean government officials.

Samsung has denied it made an unlawful offer or paid a bribe to the president in exchange for favors.

Park, Lee, Choi and Samsung Group all deny any wrongdoing.

In its Friday ruling, the court rejected the prosecution's other request to arrest Samsung's President Park Sang-jin, saying that it was hard to justify Park's arrest given his position and role within the company.

It began again on Sunday with Korean Prosecutors announcing that they planned to Summon Samsung's Heir Lee Jae-yong once again in respect to bribery.

In addition to bribery, the prosecution also accuses Lee of embezzlement and perjury for having given several versions of the events during his appearances in courts.

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