Both Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong and the South Korean President Park Geun-hye are now definitely in hot water after the country’s special prosecutor confirmed that the latter did indeed collude with her friend Choi Soon-sil to receive bribes from the Samsung Group.
The bribes were an attempt to ensure the government did not provide any opposition to moves which would see Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong gain control over the entire Samsung conglomerate.
Special prosecutor Park Young-soo announced the outcome of an investigation into claims that bribes were made in order to influence the government, with the result essentially backing up claims that have been openly made in the media for some time now. Those reports claimed that Samsung Group had paid more than $35 million in bribes by making payments to organizations and foundations which were controlled by Choi Soon-sil.
The merger within Samsung did eventually go through without a hitch after South Korea’s state-backed National Pension Service, which just so happens to be a major shareholder in one of those affiliates, gave the deal a clean bill of health and subsequently the green light despite the investigation discovering that it was expected that the service would suffer a 138.8 billion won ($119.87 million) loss if the merger went ahead.
Park, Choi and Lee all maintain their innocence and have contested the charges against them. Samsung for its part maintains that it did not pay any bribes or make contributions in an attempt to garner favors, adding that “future court proceedings will reveal the truth.” Whether that will be the case is debatable given how things have transpired thus far.
With President Park now in the midst of a possible impeachment, prosecutors may now also investigate her role in the sordid affair further, adding to an increasing tale of woe for the country, its premier and one of its most famous companies.
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