Samsung heir might be arrested on new corruption charges

The de facto leader of the conglomerate Samsung Group, Samsung Electronics vice chairman, Lee Jae-yong, may soon be put back in jail. Prosecutors are seeking an arrest warrant against Lee, known as Jay Y. Lee, arguing that he should be arrested while investigating new allegations against him.

The latest legal dispute concerns the 2015 merger between Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T, two Samsung Group firms. Lee is accused of an accounting scam that may have potentially helped to expand his control over the popular chaebol. Samsung said last week that Lee was directly involved, according to Reuters, “beyond common sense.’

This morning, Lee attended the hearing in Seoul and waited to learn whether he would be detained again. Courts may arrest the suspect for up to 20 days before prosecutors are required to charge, after which the suspect may be detained for up to six months. Today or tomorrow, a decision is expected.

Lee has been through this process before, nor will it end its legal problems if the application of the prosecution is refused. The Samsung scion spent nearly one year detained after his arrest in February 2017 and was eventually found guilty of his role in South Korea’s seismic corruption scandal which took down South Korea’s former president, Park Geun-hye. Lee was released on appeal, although a further retrial was subsequently ordered by the Supreme Court.

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