Samsung chief Lee Jae-Yong indicted in bribery scandal

Posted March 01, 2017

The charges against Lee included pledging bribes to a company and organisations tied to Ms Park's confidant, Choi Soon-sil, the woman at the centre of the scandal, to cement his control of the smartphones-to-biopharmaceuticals business empire. Industry observers predict Samsung will have Samsung Electronics, Samsung Life Insurance, and Samsung C&T to lead discussion on making major business decisions from now on. Both Park and Choi have denied any wrongdoing.

Some of the executives will resign and leave Samsung, but Lee is expected to stay on as de facto head of the company if there is a trial.

Lee was arrested on February 17, two months after President Park Geun-hye was impeached over allegations of corruption, influence-peddling and cult ties, as we reported. Also facing similar charges are Samsung's vice-chairman, Choi Gee-sung, and its president, Chang Choong-ki.

One of the favours Lee allegedly sought from Ms Park was state approval for a controversial merger in 2015 of two Samsung units, seen as a key step to ensure a smooth power transfer to him.

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Reuters reported that four other Samsung executives also were charged with bribery and "hiding assets overseas", among other crimes, and that the company had announced the resignations of three of the four. Shares of Samsung Electronics closed Tuesday at 1,922,000 won ($1,694.89), up 19,000 won or 1 percent from the previous session.

Samsung's future strategy office was considered to be at the heart of the operations of the group, which besides Samsung Electronics - the world's leading smartphone maker - comprises subsidiaries across real estate, finance, sanitary services, power and electronic accessories sectors.

Except Lee, numerous executives are expected to resign and exit the company.

A verdict on whether Park will be impeached is due mid-March, with the Constitutional Court now deciding whether to uphold the National Assembly's motion to oust the president over her alleged role in the scandal.

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A week after a South Korean court approved a warrant for the arrest of Samsung vice chairman Jay Y. Lee in connection with a bribery case, the executive and four others were officially indicted.

Among other allegations, Lee is accused of paying almost Dollars 40 million in bribes to a confidante of President Park's to secure policy favours.

Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung, arrives at the Seoul Central District Court on January 18.

Others that were indicted include political operatives like a former presidential aide and several academics accused of smoothing over the admission to a university of Choi Soon-sil's daughter.

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