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Published: Thu, January 19, 2017
Science | By Carlton Santiago

Samsung heir faces arrest for bribery and extortion charges

Samsung heir faces arrest for bribery and extortion charges

Lee Jae-yong, the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and son of the current chairman, now finds himself in hot water as well as special prosecutors are calling for his arrest for his involvement with the main player in the scandal.

"The independent counsel considers this money a bribe related to Lee's succession within Samsung", the spokesman for the independent counsel said Monday. A Seoul court will review the request for his arrest Wednesday and will likely decide on it within this week. The decision is expected to come out late on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

If Samsung boss Lee Jae Yong ends up in jail and relinquishes control of the company, his potential replacements include executives running key divisions of the dominant electronics business, as well as a sister - hotel executive Lee Boo Jin.

The merger to create a de-facto holding company was extremely crucial to the heir apparent to inherit the overall management control from his ailing father Chairman Lee Kun-hee who has been hospitalized for over two and a half years for heart attack. When asked about the possibility of charges according to the FPCA and losing key Harman workers, the Samsung Electronics public relations team said the company "is not subject to the USA law and does not believe there will be any loss of Harman workers".

Now, as Samsung's flagship electronics unit struggles to emerge from its embarrassing recall of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone previous year, its leader has become embroiled in the scandal.

After a hard 2016, Samsung Electronics is facing another hit as the corruption scandal engulfing the South Korean government spreads to a top company executive.

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Park remains in office.

Former welfare minister Moon Hyung-Pyo was formally charged Monday with abuse of power for allegedly pressuring the fund's managers to approve the deal.

Prosecutors believe he orchestrated bribes paid to Choi Soon-shil, a close friend to the now impeached President Park Guen-hye, to gain government support in a controversial merger between two of the conglomerate's affiliates.

Although Lee is technically vice chairman of the group, he has in effect been running the company for nearly three years while his ailing father lies unconscious in the hospital.

"Samsung did not make contributions in order to receive favors", the company said. Its offices have been raided several times on suspicion that the presidential office influenced the decision by South Korea's state-run pension fund to back Samsung's merger plan past year. They also suspect him of embezzling and lying under oath during a parliamentary hearing last month.

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