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Samsung leader won't be arrested in South Korean President bribery case

Jay Y. Lee, the current acting head of Samsung, has avoided an arrest in the ongoing investigation into charges that he bribed the South Korean President.

Published onJanuary 18, 2017

Jay Y. Lee, Samsung’s global vice chairman and the current acting leader of the company, got some good news today. A warrant request for his arrest by the South Korean special prosecutor earlier this week was rejected today by the Seoul Central District Court.

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Lee became the acting leader of Samsung in 2014 after his father, company chairman Lee Kun-hee, was incapacitated due to a heart attack. However, prosecutors claim Lee has sent millions of dollars from Samsung subsidiaries to two foundations controlled by Choi Soon-sil, an aide to South Korean president Park Geun-hye. Those prosecutors claims those payments were made in a bribery scheme so that Ms. Park would help Lee support a merger of two of Samsung Group’s holding companies. That merger helped to boost control of Samsung to Lee’s family. Ms. Park ended up being impeached in December as part of this scandal.

The special prosecutor tried to enforce an arrest warrant on Lee this week, on charges of suspicion of bribery, embezzlement and perjury. Lee actually spent part of the week in jail while the court deliberated on the request. However, Reuters reports that in the end, the judge decided that it was “difficult to acknowledge the necessity and substantiality of an arrest.”

Both Lee and Ms. Park have denied all wrongdoing in this scandal. Even though Lee won’t be arrested in this case, the bribery investigation will continue so this will not be the last you will hear of this rather wild political and business scandal.

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