Vice Chairman, heir, and de facto CEO of the Samsung Group conglomerate, Lee Jae-yong has been arrested for Bribery among other charges.
In the wake of a scandal involving the impeachment of South Korean President in December, Park Geun-hye over her friendship with Choi Soon-sil (the daughter of a shaman-esc cult leader), Lee Jae-yong was accused of giving millions of dollars in donations to the foundations run by Choi Soon-sil in exchange for government favours. One of these favours revolves around the merger between Samsung C&T (their construction company) and Cheil Industries (an affiliate of the Samsung group). Lee admitted at the parliamentary hearing that Samsung had donated $17.46 million to two foundations owned by President Park and Choi, but denied that they gave him favours.
Lee was questioned along with several other company executives on the charges back in January but the South Korean court ruled that there wasn’t sufficient evidence at the time. However, early Friday morning, the Seoul Central District Court said that “It is acknowledged that there is a need and reason for the arrest, given a newly added criminal charges and additional evidence.” Lee was arrested soon after.
Lee is the first major business man to be arrested over the scandal and is currently being charged with illicit transfer of assets abroad, bribery, perjury, concealment of criminal proceeds and embezzlement.
Samsung has yet to make a statement on Lee’s arrest and it is unclear if the scandal and arrest will be a major blow to the electronics superpower. The company has already had setbacks in terms of leadership after Lee’s father, Lee Kun-hee suffered a heart attack in 2014.
President Park was impeached because of allegations of cult activities, influence-peddling and leaking classified information. Choi was charged with attempted coercion, attempted fraud and abuse of authority among other charges.