Samsung head arrested over bribery charges

February 17, 2017 // 11:14 a.m.

Tags: #arrest #bribery #choi-soon-sil #korea #lee-byung-chul #lee-jae-yong #lee-kun-hee #legal #park-geun-hye #samsung #samsung-electronics #south-korea

Lee Jae-yong, Samsung's vice chair and heir to the company's controlling family, has been arrested on charges of bribery following an investigation into South Korea's President Park Geun-hye.

Samsung's Lee Jae-yong, also known by the Anglicised name Jay Y. Lee, has been reported by local media as having been arrested early this morning following an appeal to the Seoul Central District Court by special counsel investigating alleged bribery and wrongdoing by South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The counsel claims that Lee offered bribes totalling £29 million to Choi Soon-sil, a close friend and confidant of President Park, in exchange for the government's backing of a merger between two disparate Samsung companies which allowed Samsung chair Lee Kun-hee to transfer control of the company to his son Jae-yong and continue the line of succession put in place by company founder Lee Byung-chul in 1969.

Lee Jae-yong stands directly accused of bribery, embezzlement, perjury, concealment of criminal proceeds, and illicit transfer of assets abroad. In addition to smoothing the merger process over, Lee's bribes are claimed to have resulted in the Korean Fair Trade Commission and Financial Services Commission pushing for policies which favour Samsung and its affiliate companies.

Lee, naturally, denies the charges, though admits to having transferred money to companies controlled by Choi Soon-sil under duress. Samsung, for its part, has stated only that it will work towards 'the truth [being] revealed in future court proceedings.' Samsung's share price closed 1.09 percent down in its most recent trading.
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