A court in South Korea have ordered the arrest of Samsung Group’s Lee Jae-yong, the heir apparent to the company which is right now the largest smartphone maker on the planet, with the accusation being that he took part in bribery, perjury, and embezzlement.
Bloomberg reports that he had been held in a detention center since a court was told that Samsung had handed over as much as 43 billion won ($38 million) in exchange for governmental favors. Those favors were in part to help the proposed merger of two of Samsung’s businesses.
Amazingly enough, the whole case is linked to the impeachment of South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye this past December.
The Seoul Central District Court had previously declined a request to allow for Lee to be arrested last month, but that decision was later revisited following the arrival of additional evidence which was provided by special prosecutor’s office.
Lee has already gone so far as to confirm that he had meetings, in private with Park and that he gave a horse worth 1 billion Won ($875,500) to the daughter of Park’s acquaintance Choi Soon-sil. That’s not all that is being looked into though, with the prosecution also claiming that Lee donated $3.1 million to a company which just so happens to be co-owned by Choi.
As you might expect, during the hearing into the accusations, Lee denied that he had been seeking favors or support for the merger when offering the gift. This is the crux of the argument, and one which will decide the outcome of the case.
The merger between Samsung’s holding company Cheil Industries and the firm’s construction business Samsung C&T that started all of this was not popular among Samsung’s shareholders. They had argued that should it go ahead, then the merger would provide Lee with too much control and influence over the new business.
As for a trial and verdict, Bloomberg predicts it could take up to 18 months.
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