February 17, 2017 12:54
De facto Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong was arrested on bribery charges on Friday in the independent counsel's second attempt at throwing him in jail over the Cheong Wad Dae corruption scandal.
Although the leaders of Samsung are perennially being convicted of crimes of one kind or another, this is the first time that a head has been arrested in a criminal probe in its 79-year history.
The Seoul Central District Court accepted the counsel's rationale for arrest in light of the new evidence and charges that have been added to the initial accusations of bribery and perjury.
The court turned down the first application for a warrant on Jan. 19 saying there was no good reason to arrest Lee at the time.
The charges relate to some W43.3 billion Samsung paid either directly or indirectly to Park's confidante Choi Soon-sil (US$1=W1,141). Lee is also charged with perjury in the National Assembly, embezzlement, capital flight overseas, and concealing the proceeds of a crime.
Lee told the National Assembly and investigators that Samsung was not promised any favors in return for the lavish gifts but simply succumbed to strong-arming.
But the donations coincided closely with the official green light for a merger that, thanks to Samsung's Byzantine ownership structure, cleared the way for Lee to take over from his comatose father despite holding only a fraction of shares.
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