Published: Fri, February 17, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Samsung boss awaits ruling of South Korean court

Samsung boss awaits ruling of South Korean court

In January, the court rejected the prosecution's request for an arrest warrant for Lee.

Lee, the son of the Samsung group boss Lee Kun-Hee, has been quizzed several times over his alleged role in the scandal that has rocked the nation.

A South Korean court approved a special prosecutor's second request to arrest Samsung Group's Jay Y. Lee on allegations of bribery, perjury and embezzlement, an extraordinary step that risks disrupting decision-making at the country's most powerful company.

"For three weeks, we secured additional evidence that we can be sure about, and after careful deliberation have requested (an arrest warrant) for the second time", spokesman Lee Kyu-chul told reporters without elaborating. It is fairly likely that Jay will get an automatic get out of jail free card even if he is convicted.

Park is suspended from duty but is still protected by her position pending a final ruling on her impeachment by the Constitutional Court. They also are seeking an arrest warrant for Samsung Electronics president Park Sang-jin, who oversees the company's external relations.

He was accused by an independent investigation team for participating in payments that Samsung made to Choi Soon-sil, the presidential friend and advisor at the heart of Park's impeachment scandal, in exchange for government support of a company merger that, according to the Korea Times, was designed for Lee to increase his stake in Samsung as a whole.

Samsung has denied all charges.

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On Wednesday, Samsung Group repeated an earlier denial on its official Twitter account: "Samsung has absolutely never bribed the president seeking something in return or sought illicit favours".

Samsung, despite its global reach and vast product line, is still technically a "family" company, run with an opaqueness some investors are fighting, and the merger consolidated the Lee family's control.

Despite the fact that there is no risk for Lee to take flight or destroy evidence, the court's decision to grant an arrest warrant against Lee suggested that the case of Lee may be tied to the fate of Park, legal experts said.

The special prosecution office's mandate to conduct the graft investigation will expire on February 28, unless it is extended.

That funding includes Samsung's sponsorship of the equestrian career of Choi's daughter, who is in detention in Denmark after being sought by South Korean authorities, prosecutors say.

Earlier this month, prosecutors searched the offices of the antitrust agency, the Korea Fair Trade Commission, and financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission, as part of their investigation of Samsung Group.

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