Samsung's Heir The Most Recent Arrest In South Korean Scandal
Feb 17 2017 by Joanne Wise
Lee Jae-yong, Samsung's vice chairman and the company's current acting leader, has officially been arrested on charges that he attempted to bribe the president of South Korea. At the time, the prosecutors vowed to "steadily" pursue their investigation of the Samsung heir.
A request for an arrest warrant for Samsung Electronics president Park Sang Jin was rejected by the court.
According to reports, Samsung gave $38 million to a non-profit foundation controlled by Geun-hye's associate Choi Soon-sil. But since his father, Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack in 2014, he is considered de facto boss of the entire Samsung Group conglomerate. Known to be Jay Y. Lee's mentor, Choi had been expected by group insiders to take charge of the conglomerate in the event of Lee's absence.
Lee's role in the scandal is that he paid bribes to Choi and Park's foundations so that a merger, between Cheil Industries, the holding company for the Lee family, and Samsung's construction company Samsung C&T would be allowed to go through without objection.
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The arrest of Lee was seen as a crucial step for the prosecutors in charging President Park with bribery, as they can now attempt to establish her and her friend as the main beneficiary. They first questioned him on January 12. Lee has admitted funding equestrian career of Ms Choi's daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, in Denmark. Samsung Electronics shares fell by over 1 percent after the Korea Stock Exchange opened on Friday morning, following news of the arrest. The electronics giant has also yet to lay out its business targets for this year.
The decision blocking the arrest was a blow to the special prosecutor, Park Young-soo, who has tried to build a bribery case against the younger Mr.
The special prosecution was due to end at the end of the month, but an extension request has been put to the national assembly to arrest Park, which will likely be granted. The final decision is now in the hands of the Constitutional Court, which has until June to decide in favour or against the impeachment.
The powerful vice chairman of the Samsung Group faced an hours-long wait in detention on Thursday as a court decided his fate in relation to the corruption scandal that has engulfed South Korea, local media said.