S. Korea Stunned by Arrest of Samsung Leader

Lee accused of bribing government
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 17, 2017 4:15 AM CST
Samsung Leader Arrested in Corruption Scandal
Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, arrives to be questioned as a suspect in a corruption scandal at the office of the independent counsel in Seoul.   (Jung Yeon-Je/Pool Photo via AP)

South Korea was taken by surprise Friday with the arrest of the scion of the country's richest family and de facto leader at Samsung over his alleged involvement in a massive corruption scandal that engulfed the president and riveted the nation. Prosecutors believe Lee Jae-yong, 48, a vice chairman at Samsung Electronics and the only son of the ailing Samsung chairman, gave bribes worth $36 million to President Park Geun-hye and her close friend to help win government support for a smooth company leadership transition, including a contentious merger of two Samsung companies, the AP reports.

Lee was waiting for the decision to allow or reject a prosecutors' arrest request at a detention center near Seoul overnight after a closed-door court hearing that lasted more than seven hours on Thursday. Local media reported that Lee was sent to solitary confinement. The detention center declined to comment, saying it can't give out private details. Samsung said it will continue to defend itself in court. "We will do our best to ensure that the truth is revealed in future court proceedings," it said in a statement. Prosecutors sought to arrest Lee last month, but a court decided they didn't have enough evidence. (More Samsung stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.