South Korea's Biggest Chaebol Awaits Verdict on Lee Arrest Warrant


When people took to the streets of Seoul to demand that President Park be ousted, there were also demands for big chaebols heirs like Lee to be arrested after benefiting from alleged favoritism.

Lee should be arrested.

A court decision on the warrant request is expected by early Friday. Park Sang-jin is wanted on bribery and other charges. A separate constitutional court will determine whether Park is ultimately removed from office. But more evidence against Lee emerged. The firm and Lee have denied any involvement in the corruption scandal. She became the first president in South Korean history to face a criminal investigation as a primary suspect. After all, Samsung is a major player in Asia's fourth-largest economy. Lee Jae-yong's father Lee Kun-hee was charged twice for bribery in 1995 and 2008 but faced trial without being jailed and received suspended sentences, which were later pardoned.

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"It is not like Samsung's business will be grinding to a halt". The plan to reorganize the group under a holding company is created to make Samsung Electronics' power structure within the group more transparent to outsiders.

But pundits believe investments will slow to a crawl.

Samsung said in a statement Wednesday it had "not paid bribes nor made improper requests to the president seeking favours". "They need a chairman when making long-term investment decisions", he said.

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Yang Ki-in, senior researcher at Shinhan Investment, said the stock market could show a "short-term reaction" from the arrest of Lee, but there would be little impact on the stock price of Samsung Electronics and the broader stock market. The latest arrest comes after the South Korean prosecutors were denied an arrest warrant despite Lee admitting that he gave the money under pressure from President Park.

Both say they did nothing wrong. Park's memos accurately communicate the desperation that Samsung was feeling at the time. Park remains without power after losing her status.

The Constitutional Court, which is now reviewing the legality of the impeachment, said Thursday it plans to hold the last hearing in the trial on February 24.

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Samsung has been embroiled in a political scandal which in December led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-Hye, after months of political turmoil in South Korea.