Samsung heir ensnared in bribery scandal that toppled a leader

Samsung heir ensnared in bribery scandal that toppled a leader
  1. Samsung heir ensnared in bribery scandal that toppled a leader
    Lee Jae-yong, Samsung vice chair, will face questions over allegations the S. Korean electronics giant bribed president's pal for…

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean authorities said Wednesday that a Samsung scion will be questioned as a suspect in a bribery case in the massive influence-peddling scandal that led to the impeachment of the country’s president.

Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Electronics’ vice chairman, will be summoned to face questions by investigators probing whether South Korea’s largest business group bribed a jailed confidante of President Park Geun-hye to win favors, said Hong Jong-seok, a spokesman for the special prosecutor team investigating the scandal.


South Korean President Park Geun-hye releases a statement of apology to the public during a news conference at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, October 25, 2016.


Those possible favors include getting the government’s backing on a controversial Samsung merger in 2015 that was opposed by minority shareholders, Hong said by phone.

Lee and members of his family were the biggest beneficiaries of the merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, which helped Lee increase his control over Samsung Electronics without having to spend his money to buy its shares.

The former health minister overseeing the government-controlled national pension fund was arrested last year. The pension fund, the biggest shareholder in Samsung C&T, voted for the merger even though its advisers recommended voting against it, giving the crucial vote Samsung needed to secure shareholder approval.

Prosecutors are expected to grill Lee starting Thursday regarding why Samsung Group sent corporate funds to Choi Soon-sil, the jailed confidante, including buying costly horses for her daughter, who was on the national dressage team.


Choi Soon-sil, a long-time friend of the South Korean President Park Geun-hye, leaves after attending an investigation to determine an arrest warrant’s validity at a court in Seoul, South Korea, November 3, 2016.


Samsung Group did not immediately respond to an email Wednesday seeking comment.

Two Samsung executives, including a man known as Lee’s mentor, were questioned in the case earlier this week.

When Lee appeared at a public hearing last month, he told lawmakers that he was not aware of the decision to fund Choi’s daughter. He also denied that Samsung tried to win favors through the funds. Lee, the only son of Samsung’s ailing chairman and a grandson of the company’s founder, acknowledged that it was “inappropriate” but “inevitable” to send money to Choi (pronounced Chwey). He did not elaborate further.

Prosecutors asked lawmakers to file a complaint against Lee for alleged…

Tags: #Samsung
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