The de-facto head of Samsung, Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, was arrested earlier today on alleged corruption charges.
According to the special prosecutor’s office, Lee — who is the heir apparent to the Samsung Group and only son of Samsung’s incapacitated chairman — is being held on charges including bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas and perjury.
He was taken into custody at the Seoul Detention Centre, where he is being held in a cell with a single TV and desk, a jail official claims.
Prosecutors now have up to 10 days to indict Lee, although they can request an extension if need be. After this, a court will have to make its first ruling within a 90-day period
Lee Kun-hee is suspected of offering tens of millions of dollars in return for gaining support from a national pension fund in the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates to create a holding firm. The arrangement was crucial for allowing Kun-hee to inherit overall management control of the company.
The investigation is part of a larger scandal involving South Korea’s impeached president Park Geun-hye.
Lee Jae-yong’s legal team have acknowledged that contributions were made to two nonprofit foundations currently under investigation, but have said neither of these were “pay for play” deals designed to win him favors. Lee was summoned by investigators on Monday and held for questioning which lasted more than 15 hours.
Samsung’s day-to-day operations are unlikely to be affected by the arrest.