Samsung boss arrested on corruption charges


He has been the de facto Samsung head after his father Lee Kun Hee, Samsung's former chairman, was hospitalized in 2014 following a heart attack.

The Korea International Trade Association (KITA) went a step ahead and said Lee's arrest should have been weighed in and that the warrant for his arrest was thoughtless. "However, major management decisions or succession planning, such as mega acquisition deals, as well as the overall management shake-up will be considerably delayed".

This development isn't too surprising, given that the office of special prosecutor Park Young-Soo had an arrest warrant back in January, but clearly whatever they had on him wasn't enough as it was dismissed and Lee was released by the court. The special prosecutor's office believes that the Fair Trade Commission and Financial Services Commission in South Korea pushed legislation in favor of Samsung and the founding family Lee.

The political bribery scandal also led to the impeachment of President Park. An investigation - or even worse, a prosecution - by the South Korean government could delay those plans.

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The investigation into Samsung is part of the wider one into dozens of other South Korean companies. Some planned to stay all night.

A quest for Lee's arrest was rejected by a court last month, however, the prosecutor brought additional accusations against Lee on Tuesday seeking his arrest again on charges of bribery. It also said prosecutors had not questioned Park, who was named an accomplice in the bribery case. But the case continued and new evidence incriminating the Samsung head was collected, leading to a second warrant and an arrest.

In the meantime, President Park is now stripped of her powers due to this scandal and is waiting to see whether the Supreme Court will uphold the South Korean parliament's decision to impeach her. The trappings of the scandal have garnered worldwide attention for their freakish details: Choi claims to be channeling the spirit of Park's dead mother and allegedly is the power behind the throne.

Samsung Group, the parent company of Samsung Electronics, became ensnared in the "Choi-gate" corruption probe facing Park a few months ago. Choi's daughter Chung Yoo-ra who's also implicated in the scandal is now under arrest in Denmark and is expected to be extradited to South Korea in the coming weeks.

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Samsung is accused of paying 43 billion won ($49 million) to ensure a merger of two Samsung affiliates would receive government approval.

Shares of many Samsung units took a hit on the Seoul stock market following the news, with the group's flagship Samsung Electronics sliding 0.4 percent.

The news caps a torrid time for the world's largest manufacturer of smart phones and South Korea's biggest company, after the disastrous roll out of its Galaxy Note 7 previous year.

Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, arrives for a hearing at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul on February 16, 2017.

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