Samsung group heir-apparent arrested on bribery charges

Andrew Cummings
February 17, 2017

Prosecutors say his company paid almost 34.5 million dollars to institutions run by President Park's former confidante, Choi Soon-sil, in exchange for political support.

The arrest of Lee came shortly after a court issued a warrant in the second attempt by the special counsel to arrest him. The Samsung Group chief had spent the night at a detention center in the South Korean capital awaiting the decision on the second request by prosecutors for his arrest. Lee became the acting leader of Samsung in 2014 after his father, company chairman Lee Kun-hee, was incapacitated due to a heart attack.

The prosecutors now have 10 days to indict Lee, although they can also seek an indiction of the scion of the wealthiest family in South Korea.

However, the judge rejected the prosecution's request to arrest Samsung Electronics president Park Sang-jin. That merger helped to give more control of Samsung over to Lee's family.

Park has been impeached and her presidential powers have been suspended while a court decides if she should be removed from office.

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.

Samsung has said it made the payments but denied they were made in exchange for political favors. "Lee" class="local_link" >Jay Y. Lee was arrested over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that has engulfed President Park Geun-hye.

The court is also deliberating an arrest warrant for another Samsung executive, who is also the head of Korea Equestrian Federation, over bribery charges.

The National Pension Service, a major Samsung shareholder, is suspected of supporting the merger on Choi's instruction.

It is already reeling from the debacle over the recall of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 device and reports have suggested it could face sanctions from overseas authorities if Lee is punished.

Mr Lee has denied wrongdoing and said before his marathon interrogation that he would speak "earnestly" to prosecutors. He was pardoned by the country's presidents both times. 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.

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