Published: Sun, February 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Samsung to Suspend Investment, Business Plans Following Arrest of Chief

Samsung to Suspend Investment, Business Plans Following Arrest of Chief

The charges he's facing include bribery, embezzlement, perjury, concealment of criminal records, and illicit transfer of assets overseas.

This is the first time Lee has been arrested in connection with the scandal, having previously been questioned by authorities in January when prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to arrest him at the time.

"We acknowledge the cause and necessity of the arrest", said Judge Han Jeong-seok.

A spokeswoman for Samsung-the world's biggest maker of smartphones-did not have immediate comment on the arrest. The new charges against Lee are yet to be thoroughly investigated and Samsung Group's top executive is now scheduled to be interrogated on the matter on Saturday.

The National Assembly voted in December to impeach Park over her alleged role in the case, leading her to be suspended from office while the Constitutional Court decides whether to approve her impeachment.

The charges are part of a larger corruption investigation, which alleges South Korea's President Park extorted almost $70 million from big business.

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Lee Jae-yong, the acting chief of Samsung and its heir apparent, was arrested Friday on bribery and embezzlement charges in Seoul, South Korea.

Prosecutors have up to 10 days to indict Lee, Samsung's third-generation leader, although they can seek an extension.

The trial, counting appeals and delays, is likely to take up to 18 months to reach a verdict, according to Bloomberg, during which time Lee's attributions will be taken over by Samsung Electronics president Park Sang-Jin. The Korean tech giant is accused of giving money, almost 38 million dollars to entities controlled by President Park's confidante Choi Soon-sil, in exchange for support of a 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates, that was deemed critical to finalizing Lee's succession to the top of Samsung Group.

Following his arrest, the group is widely expected to halt its ongoing restructuring process that was partly aimed at enhancing Lee's control over the group, the observers noted. She remains in office but has no power.

Choi has been charged with using her ties to Park to pressure companies like Samsung to donate money to foundations she operates.

The Samsung group is South Korea's biggest conglomerate, or chaebol.

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