Business

South Korea has to worry about the economic impact of arresting Samsung vice chairman Lee Jae-yong

Samsung is embroiled in the influence-peddling scandal that has resulted in the impeachment of the country’s president. Prosecutors have been investigating allegations of Samsung giving more than $25 million in bribes to companies and foundations run by President Park Geun-hye’s friend Choi Soon-sil in exchange for influence that was crucial in getting a controversial merger of two Samsung affiliates approved.

Samsung vice chairman Lee Jae-yong, the conglomerate’s heir apparent, was questioned for over 22 hours about these allegations recently. The country’s special prosecutor will take a decision tomorrow about whether or not he should be arrested but the prosecutor has said that the economic impact of this move will be taken into account before warrants are issued.

Lee Jae-yong is the third generation leader of South Korea’s largest conglomerate which also happens to be one of the biggest companies on the planet. Lee Kyu-chul, spokesman for the special prosecution, said that given the gravity of this case the investigators are looking at all possible factors including the economic impact of the arrest of the Samsung vice chairman.

It will be confirmed tomorrow whether or not the special prosecution will go for the arrest of Lee Jae-yong who denied bribery accusations during a hearing before the country’s parliament last month. No one can predict how the market will react to the news if the arrest is sought, for all we know, investors may not like it.

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