Seoul District Court has ordered the arrest of Samsungs’ head honcho chief Lee Jae-yong. He is accused of bribing Choi Soon-sil, the main person of interest in ongoing corruption scandal that has gripped South Korea. ( Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images )
The arrest concerns the bribery and embezzlement charges against Lee, which also form part of a wider corruption scandal that has led to – the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. The arrest will allow prosecutors to hold the vice president chairman for 20 days.In a brief statement, Samsung reiterated that the company’s daily operation will not be affected by the latest development and stressed that it will continue to defend itself against the charges.
Lee has been investigated for his ties with Choi Soon-sil, the president’s confidante and the primary person of interest in the corruption scandal. She is being labeled as the South Korean version of Rasputin for her influence over President Park.
Prosecutors allege that Lee donated $37.3 million to several organizations backed by Choi in exchange for her support for the merger of two Samsung companies, Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries. The merger, which is worth $8 billion, was eventually approved by the country’s National Pension Services
There is also claim that Lee sponsored the equestrian career of Choi’s daughter, which effectively dragged the name of two Samsung executives as possible suspects, as they also serve in the Korea Equestrian Federation.
In the meantime, mentor of Samsung scion seen stepping up after Lee’s arrest. Although business at flagship Samsung Electronics is moving along, huge decisions will need to be made and the man most likely to be called upon to make them is Choi Gee-sung, the top lieutenant at Samsung Group and a mentor to Lee.