Published: Sat, February 18, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

Samsung Chief Lee Jae-yong Arrested On Bribery And Corruption Charges

Samsung Chief Lee Jae-yong Arrested On Bribery And Corruption Charges

The prosecutor's office alleges that Samsung's contributions - including $17 million in donations to Choi's foundation and millions of dollars worth of contracts to companies she ran or was involved with - were made in exchange for a decision by the National Pension Services to support a merger of two of the electronic company's affiliates.

Lee is suspected of involvement in a paying-for-influence scandal that led to the demise of South Korean President Park Geun-hye in December.

Prosecutors now have 20 days in which to issue formal charges against Lee, or the case against him will have to be dropped.

"We will do our best for the truth to be revealed in court", it said. More details in the full report linked below. The testimony prompted prosecutors to seek a perjury charge against him.

"It is acknowledged that there are a need and reason for the arrest, given a newly added criminal charge and additional evidence".

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics President Park Sang Jin's arrest warrant request was rejected by the court.

Samsung was the biggest donor among dozens of South Korean companies that donated a total of almost $70 million to two nonprofit foundations controlled by Choi, the president's friend.

At a national committee hearing looking into the scandal a year ago, Lee said he didn't know Choi under oath, which investigators believe is a lie. Prosecutors have argued Lee has handed over corporate funds on multiple times in return for the president's promise to back the 2015 merger of two Samsung companies pivotal to legitimize his hold over the group.

Both Samsung and Lee deny any wrongdoing. It is also accused of separately giving millions of euros to Choi to bankroll her daughter's equestrian training in Germany.

Samsung watchers have said Lee's arrest would not affect the day-to-day running of group companies including Samsung Electronics, which are run by professional managers, but a prolonged absence could impact longer-term and strategic decision making.

The issuance of this ruling implies that Lee Jae Yong will be included in the charges that President Park and Choi are facing.

Park, meanwhile, is waiting for the Constitutional Court to decide whether to uphold the impeachment vote which took place on 8 December 2016. Park, who remains in the presidential Blue House, could become the first democratically elected leader in South Korea to leave office in disgrace.

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