South Korea Seeks Warrant for Samsung Vice Chairman's Arrest

Samsung is getting pulled into the South Korean scandal that has already seen the country's president impeached, as authorities seek a formal arrest warrant for the de facto boss of the giant conglomerate.

Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC), is being accused of corruption and embezzlement by government investigators.

Samsung is suspected of giving 43 billion won ($36 million) to Choi Soon-sil -- a friend of impeached president Park Geun-hye -- while seeking government help with a leadership succession within Samsung. Lee is also accused of embezzling part of the money intended for Choi.

The BBC is reporting that Lee has denied the charges.

The vice chairman has been leading the Samsung conglomerate since his father, chairman Lee Kun-hee, was hospitalized in 2014 after a heart attack.

For all the latest news on 5G, visit the 5G site here on Light Reading.

Samsung is the largest company in South Korea and one of the largest consumer electronics providers in the world. IDC reports that it is still the number one smartphone provider in the world as of the third quarter of 2016, despite the recall issues around the Note 7 last year. (See Samsung's NoteGate: Winners & Losers.)

Samsung is also one of the leading vendors in the 5G field. The vendor is carrying out 5G tests with operators in the US as well as its home market. (See Samsung, SKT Take Step Closer to 'Real' 5G.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

COMMENTS Add Comment
TV Monitor 1/24/2017 | 7:22:07 PM
Re: Yikes... Dan Jones

The parliament revised the impeachment document to spell out that all corporations that  contributed to Choi's foundations were extortion victims, not bribers. 

While the special prosecution still insists that Samsung was a willing briber, Samsung will get an immunity when the special prosecution folds and hands over case to regular prosecution, because the next administration is guaranteed to be the opposition coalition in control of the parliament at the moment.

Local press found it surpising that the opposition coalition of the parliament decided to give a blank immunity on big corporations given their historical anti-corporation stance, but even the opposition felt that the special prosecutor was going off track focusing on Samsung when he should be focusing on President Park, Choi, and their henchmen.
TV Monitor 1/18/2017 | 3:15:33 PM
Re: Yikes... Kbode

The arrest warrant requet was turned down by the judge. 

It was a "willing bribe payer in exchange for pension fund voting in favor of Samsung merger" vs "an extortion victim" narrative before the judge, and the judge bought the extortion victim narrative, which was the conclusion of the original government prosecutors which were then replaced by the opposition appointed special independent prosecutors.

The special prosecutors wanted to take the easier path toward the arrest of President Park on the day her impeachment is approved by the court. While all legal experts agreed Park had to go to prison for a long long time(but then probably be pardoned by the likely opposition president in about 4 years), going after big corporations who seemed like extortion victims was the wrong way to go.

This did cost Samsung dearly, because Mr. Lee was invited to attend Trump's inarguration and have a talk with Mr. Trump(In hopes of Trump tweeting how Samsung promised to invest $20 billion in the US and create tens of thousands of jobs), but was cancelled because of this debacle.
KBode 1/17/2017 | 12:33:46 PM
Re: Yikes... Interesting insight, thanks. Will be watching this with great interest. Had been utterly clueless about Park's problems (too distracted by problems of the domestic variety). 
TV Monitor 1/17/2017 | 12:30:34 PM
Re: Yikes... KBode,

The special prosecutor in this case is making this bribery charge in order to establish a criminal case against President Park.

Samsung's defense is that it was an extortion case, not a bribery case, like 20 other big businesses extorted by President Park and her puppet master Choi.

We will see what happens at the warrant hearing.
DanJones 1/17/2017 | 11:17:10 AM
Re: Yikes... Yes indeed
KBode 1/17/2017 | 9:11:39 AM
Yikes... Exploding phones and now this. Quite the double PR gut punch. Going to take a while to bounce back from the last six to eight months, don't you think?
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