Samsung chief faces possible 20 years behind bars for bribery

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Bribery case goes all the way up to the highest levels of South Korean politics.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung Vice-Chairman Lee Jae-yong has been charged with bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, and perjury by South Korean prosecutors.

Lee — who is the heir apparent to the Samsung Group and only son of Samsung’s incapacitated chairman — was arrested on February 17 for his role in a scandal involving the country’s impeached president Park Geun-hye. Today was the last day of the investigation that Lee was able to be charged following his arrest.

The 48-year-old boss is accused of offering tens of millions of dollars in exchange for gaining support from a national pension fund in the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates. The arrangement was crucial for allowing Kun-hee to inherit overall management control of the Samsung Group.

If convicted, Lee faces up to 20 years in prison. He has denied any wrongdoing, along with other major figures in the case. It’s not clear yet when his trial will begin, but the special prosecutor’s office will deliver its final report on the investigation on March 6.

At present, the specifics of the charges against Lee and other Samsung executives haven’t been disclosed. Prior to this arrest, Lee was summoned by investigators and held for questioning which lasted more than 15 hours.

Source: Reuters