Following a three-month investigation, South Korean special prosecutors indicted Samsung's de facto chief Tuesday on bribery, embezzlement, and other charges linked to a political scandal that has toppled President Park Geun-hye. The indictment of Lee Jae-yong, a vice chairman at Samsung Electronics and the only son of the ailing Samsung chair, signals the still roiling state of South Korea's political and economic circles. Prosecutors say Lee gave bribes worth $36 million to Park and her confidante to help win government support for the 2015 merger of two Samsung companies, reports Yonhap. The merger was seen as a crucial step for Lee to strengthen his grip on Samsung Electronics after his father fell ill in May 2014.
Lee also allegedly hid assets overseas, concealed proceeds from criminal activities, and committed perjury. The 48-year-old billionaire was arrested Feb. 17 and remains in custody, reports CNN. The company did not comment on Lee's status, implying that the Samsung heir will likely keep his position while he is under arrest and stands trial; four other execs who were indicted will resign, per Samsung. Lee was once the face of the new Samsung, but now follows in the footsteps of his father, Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee. The senior Lee was indicted in 2008 on charges of tax evasion and breach of trust. He was later convicted and then pardoned by a former president. The AP has much more on the scandal and the role played by Samsung's secretive Corporate Strategy Office, which Samsung on Tuesday said it would disband. (Read more Samsung stories.)