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Samsung boss to be indicted for bribery, embezzlement and hiding funds abroad

The government-backed merger which solidified chief Lee Jae-yong's control of the Samsung Group is at the heart of the controversy.

Published onFebruary 28, 2017

The Samsung logo.

Samsung Vice Chairman and current boss Lee Jae-yong will be indicted on charges of bribery, embezzlement and hiding assets overseas, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Lee was arrested earlier in February after being accused of bribing South Korean President Park Geun-hye to help him assume control of the Samsung Group. Lee had been the acting chief since 2014 when his father, Samsung’s previous owner, was hospitalized following a heart attack. A controversial merger between Samsung affiliates that Park allegedly aided was key to solidifying his position. (President Park was impeached in December amid corruption allegations and may be removed from office soon.)

Following these developments, Samsung reportedly announced that it would dissolve its Corporate Strategy Office, the unit responsible for the company’s most important decisions, which had been linked to the corruption.

Samsung Group president and vice chairman offer to resign amidst bribery scandal

Four Samsung executives have also been charged, including Corporate Strategy Office Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung and President Chang Choong-ki — who recently left the company — and other are stepping down from their positions, reports Bloomberg.

It’s believed that Lee’s trial could take up to 18 months resolve; the billionaire has admitted to transferring funds to President Park but has denied that it was for political gain.

This may become not only a pivotal moment in Samsung’s history but also South Korea’s: the nation’s major family run corporations — or Chaebol — are said to have been involved with political favors for many years. If Lee is found guilty, it could shake the whole system.

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