Samsung chief Lee arrested as South Korean corruption probe deepens
Lee is a suspect in the corruption scandal that Parliament to impeach President Park Geun-Hye in December
Amidst the ongoing corruption scandal probe in South Korea, Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee was arrested early on Friday over his alleged role in the scandal.
The 48-year-old Lee, scion of the country's richest family, was taken into custody at the Seoul Detention Centre after waiting there overnight for the decision, as it brings a fresh blow to the world's biggest maker of smartphones and memory chips. He was being held in a single cell with a TV and desk, a jail official said.
Notably, Lee is a suspect in the corruption scandal that Parliament to impeach President Park Geun-Hye in December, a decision that if upheld by the Constitutional Court would make her the country's first democratically elected leader forced from office.
However, Prosecutors have up to 10 days to indict Lee, Samsung's third-generation leader, although they can seek an extension. After the indictment, a court would be required to make a ruling within three months. A spokeswoman for Samsung Group said that no decision had been made on whether Lee's arrest would be contested or whether bail would be sought,
Samsung and Lee have denied wrongdoing in the case. "We will do our best to ensure that the truth is revealed in future court proceedings," the Samsung Group said in a brief statement after Lee's arrest.
With Lee's arrest, prosecutors who have zeroed-in on Samsung Group to build their case against President Park and her close friend Choi Soon-sil have got the boost. Both Park and Choi have denied wrongdoing.
Prosecutors have focused on Samsung's relationship with Park, 65, accusing the group of paying bribes totaling 43 billion won ($37.74 million) to organizations linked to Choi to secure government backing for the 2015 merger of two Samsung units.