Heir of technology giant ‘Samsung’ – Lee Jae-yong, 48, has been arrested in connection with South Korea’s political corruption scandal. He is the highest-profile business figure engulfed by the influence-peddling scandal that is poised to topple President Park Geun-hye, who was accused of soliciting funds from major corporations for her non-profit foundations in return for political favours.
She has since been stripped of her powers while the constitutional court deliberates her impeachment by parliament.
Lee Jae-yong who is actually the vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics and grandson of the group’s founder, has been leading the Samsung Group since his father and chairman Lee Kun-hee was hospitalised with a heart attack in 2014. Restructuring plans have been in motion to make him the official leader.
Lee who normally lives in a $4million mansion in the capital Seoul, is being held in a cell after being accused of paying about Won43bn ($37m) in bribes to a confidante of President Park Geun-Hye to secure policy favours to smooth his succession and more. Although he admitted making political donations to Ms Park, he denied that they were aimed at getting any business favours in return.
The judge rejected prosecutors’ request to arrest Park Sang-jin, the president of Samsung Electronics, who was involved in arranging the financial support for Ms Park, but claims he was following Mr Lee’s orders.
Lee has also accused him of hiding assets overseas, concealing profits made from illicit business activities and lying under oath during a parliamentary hearing about his role in the influence-peddling scandal.
In a statement addressing his arrest, Samsung said: “We will do our best to ensure that the truth is revealed in future court proceedings.”