Published: Wed, March 01, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Samsung chief to be indicted on bribery & embezzlement charges

The Times reports that while Lee was charged with embezzlement and bribery, he was also accused of perjury stemming from claims he made in a preliminary hearing that he never bribed Choi or President Park.

"Jay Y. Lee's main role was largely limited to a few things, such as building a good image of Samsung as the owner of the conglomerate, establishing solid network with his global counterparts and calling the final shots when cutting big acquisition deals in new growth areas", CEOSCORE'S Park said.

Grandson of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul, Lee Jae-yong is now acting vice-chairman of the group after his father suffered a heart-attack in 2014.

Lee can now seek bail and the court has to make its first ruling within three months. Lee's part in the whole affair is said to stem from donations to foundations totalling almost $40 million to help assuage a merger between two Samsung subsidiaries. Also facing similar charges are Samsung's vice-chairman, Choi Gee-sung, and its president, Chang Choong-ki. Four other top-ranking Samsung officials have also be indicted on similar charges.

Lee was arrested in mid-February, but prosecutors did not press charges against him until their Tuesday deadline.

Samsung Group, South Korea's largest business conglomerate, on Tuesday announced a set of plans to revamp the group's management, including the abolition of its key future strategy office.

Prosecutors say the Samsung heir gave bribes worth $36 million to Park and her confidante to help win government support for a smooth company leadership transition.

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Among other allegations, Lee is accused of paying almost Dollars 40 million in bribes to a confidante of President Park's to secure policy favours.

President Park, who has been suspended from her duties following impeachment proceedings last December, has denied any alleged wrongdoings but apologized for her relationship with Choi.

Lee was said to have used the group to wield control over Samsung's various holdings and coordinate efforts, including government lobbying.

Given the economic and political importance of Samsung in South Korea, if Lee is indicted, it could be on the same level of President Park's impeachment.

Following these developments, Samsung reportedly announced that it would dissolve its Corporate Strategy Office, the unit responsible for the company's most important decisions, which had been linked to the corruption.

Others that were indicted include political operatives like a former presidential aide and several academics accused of smoothing over the admission to a university of Choi Soon-sil's daughter.

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