Business

Samsung calls on court to not issue arrest warrant for vice chairman Lee Jae-yong

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has served as the defacto head of the Samsung Group conglomerate ever since his father Chairman Lee Kun-hee suffered a heart attack in 2014. He will eventually replace his father as chairman and the process of his succession has already been put in motion. However, a corruption and bribery scandal could throw a spanner in the works.

South Korea’s special prosecutors are looking into allegations of President Park Geun-hye’s close friend Choi Soon-sil taking money in order to grant favors and influence. The president has already been impeached and prosecutors are now questioning some of the biggest business leaders in the company who were allegedly involved in the purchase of influence. Lee Jae-yong has already appeared before a parliamentary hearing and was recently questioned for 22 hours. The prosecutors have now sought an arrest warrant for the Samsung heir and tomorrow a court will decide whether the warrant will be issued.

Samsung Group and other members of the business community have called on the court to not approve the arrest warrant against Lee Jae-yong. Samsung has denied all allegations and argues that it was strong-armed in having to give more than $36 million to two foundations run by Choi Soon-sil. The company also says that it can’t accept bribery charges. It argues that Lee can face a trial without being detained as he’s already barred from leaving the country during the course of this investigation and that the possibility of destruction of evidence is low because prosecutors have taken enough evidence with them in the three raids they’ve conducted so far on Samsung’s offices.

The Seoul Central District Court is going to hold a hearing tomorrow and decide whether or not the warrants will be issued.

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