Samsung chief Lee arrested in corruption investigation
Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee was arrested early on Friday over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that led parliament to impeach South Korean President Park Geun-hye, dealing a fresh blow to the world’s biggest maker of smartphones.
The 48-year-old Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), was taken into custody at the Seoul Detention Centre, where he had awaited the court’s decision following a day-long, closed-door hearing that ended on Thursday evening.
The judge’s decision was announced at about 5:30 a.m. (2030 GMT) on Friday, more than 10 hours after Lee, the sprawling conglomerate’s third-generation leader, had left the court.
Shares in Samsung Electronics opened down 1.2 percent, while shares in Samsung C&T Corp (028260.KS), the de facto holding company of Samsung Group, opened down 3.2 percent compared with the wider market’s .KS11 drop of 0.45 percent.
A spokeswoman for Samsung Group [SARG.UL] said no decision had been made about whether Lee’s arrest would be contested or whether bail would be sought.
The same court rejected a request from prosecutors last month to arrest Lee. On Tuesday, the special prosecutor’s office had requested a warrant to arrest him and another executive, Samsung Electronics president Park Sang-jin, on bribery and other charges.
The court rejected the request to arrest Park, who also heads the Korea Equestrian Federation, saying it was not needed given his “position, the boundary of his authority and his actual role”.
The prosecution said it had secured additional evidence and brought more charges against Lee in the latest warrant request.