Samsung Group’s vice chairman and de facto head Jay Y. Lee has been arrested, following charges relating to “bribery, embezzlement and perjury” were laid by South Korean prosecutors in January.
Lee, 48, was the former COO of Samsung Electronics, and has been at the company since 1991. He effectively assumed control of Samsung after his father, suffered a heart attack in 2014.
The South Korean was accused of leveraging his wealth and influence to gain political favours from the country’s chief officials.
The New York Times reported that Lee paid for support from government (namely an unnamed South Korea advisor to President Park Geun-hye) during a merger of two Samsung-owned companies. The amount in question totals US$36-million.
Samsung Group’s Jay Y. Lee is the heir to the company’s throne, and is one of South Korea’s wealthiest men
Incidentally, Park herself is also being investigated and facing impeachment over corruption charges.
Reuters suggests that mentor to Lee, Choi Gee-sung, will be the new acting-figurehead of the Samsung Group. The company’s share price is also currently down 0.42%, but that’s barely its most dramatic fall of the past month.
As for Samsung Electronics, the arrest shouldn’t affect the subsidiary’s daily functions, which is mainly piloted by semi-conductor wizard Kwon Oh-hyun.
Lee will again be questioned on Saturday.