Lee Jae-yong, the Vice President of Samsung Group, has been arrested in his home country, South Korea after the Seoul central court approved the billionaire’s arrest.
Lee Jae-yong, the only son of Chairman of Samsung Lee Kun-hee, was accused of bribing Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of impeached president, Park Geun-hye, to secure government support for a business deal that would propel him to the top of the Samsung group. Korean Prosecutors are investigating whether Samsung had paid Choi to secure state approval for the controversial merger of two Samsung units seen as a key step towards ensuring a smooth power transfer to Lee.
The merger in 2015 of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries was opposed by many investors who said it willfully undervalued the former unit’s shares. However, the merger was approved after Korean Pension Fund gave the green light to it.
Lee Jae-yong is the highest-profile figure to have been arrested so far in the Park Geun-hye scandal, which surrounds on her relationship with Choi Soon-sil. Choi Soon-sil is a family friend of Park Geun-hye as the father of Choi was a close friend of Park’s father when Park’s father was a Korean President in the 60s. Park Chung-hee was assassinated in 1979 and was previously ruled the country as a dictator.
South Koreans have grown increasingly fed up with corruption scandals related to chaebols and had took to the streets in recent months to demand Park’s impeachment and the crow also demanded for the arrest of other chaebol leaders.
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