Samsung group chief Lee Jae-yong, who now goes by Jay Y Lee, was arrested early on Friday on charges of corruption and bribery. A South Korean court approved his arrest. The case is linked to the corruption scandal in which former President Park Geun-hye was impeached in December 2016. Lee has been accused of embezzlement, perjury and paying bribes worth millions to Park Geun-hye’s friend, who is at the centre of an extortion scandal.
The 48-year-old is from the country’s richest family, and has continued to deny the charges made against him. Samsung has denied them too. “We will do our best to ensure that the truth is revealed in future court proceedings,” the Samsung group said in a statement after Lee’s arrest.
South Korea has begun investigation into the corruption surrounding Park Geun-hye and her friend Choi Soon-sil. Lee had allegedly paid bribes worth 43 billion won (more than Rs 200 crore) to organisations with links to Choi Soon-sil. He had allegedly done it to ensure the merger of two company affiliates as well as his control of the family business – he became the de facto head of the Samsung Group after his father was incapacitated by a heart attack in 2014.
Samsung shares dropped on Friday morning after the arrest was made, Reuters reported. A company spokesperson said no decision had been made regarding his bail.
The arrest is also expected to derail some reorganisation moves that the company had planned. Samsung has been in the limelight recently for its Galaxy Note7 battery fires, after which the product had been recalled.