Samsung heir is arrested

Lee Jae-yong, also known as Jay Y. Lee, the vice chairman of Samsung Group, was arrested on charges of bribery, perjury and embezzlement. The Seoul Central District Court issued the warrant for Lee’s arrest on February 17, Bloomberg News reported.

“The decision was made because of the risk that he might destroy evidence or flee,” the Bloomberg report said, citing a spokesperson for the court.

Lee is suspected of paying up to $38 million to a friend of South Korean President Park Geun-hye to obtain government support of a controversial merger of two Samsung entities that would strengthen his control of Samsung Group. Samsung has denied the charges.

“Mr. Lee, who had been waiting for the court’s decision at a detention center in Seoul, will remain there as a result of the arrest warrant,” the Bloomberg article said.

Samsung Electronics president Park Sang-jin is expected to assume some of Lee’s responsibilities, the report said. Prosecutors’ request for the arrest of Park had been rejected by the court, the article said.

On January 19, the court rejected the prosecutor’s first attempt to arrest Lee. The Samsung heir was called in again for 15 hours of questioning, the article said.

“The conglomerate’s transition to a new, younger leader was already marred by last year’s botched debut of the Note 7, a smartphone that was discontinued after it showed a tendency to catch fire and explode,” the Bloomberg report said.  (Source: Bloomberg, Feb. 17, 2017.)