Jay Y. Lee, Samsung Group chief, has been arrested for alleged involvement in a $33.85 million bribery scandal with impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye. He faces charges of bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas and perjury.
The special prosecutor’s office is accusing Lee of bribing a close friend of Park Geun-hye, Choi Soon-sil, to gain “government favors”, with payments made by Samsung to a business and foundations backed by Choi who has already been charged with bribery.
The payments were allegedly made in return for the national pension fund’s support for a merger of Samsung C&T Corp and Cheil Industries Inc back in 2015.
Lee denied bribery accusations during a parliamentary hearing in December, and now the special prosecutor’s office want to know if this testimony was false. Samsung has admitted to making contributions to two foundations under Choi’s control.
National Pension Service chief Moon Hyung-pyo did admit to pressuring the fund to approve the merger while he was health minister.
The prosecution also attempted to arrest Park Sang-jin, Samsung’s President, but the judge rejected the request
Prosecutors have 10 days to indict Lee, after which the court has three months to make a ruling on the case. As reported by Reuters, Both Lee and Samsung deny any wrongdoing, and a spokesperson for the company is yet to confirm if the arrest will be contested, or bail will be sought.