dglobalnews.com South Korean prosecutors seek to arrest Samsung heir
Published: Thu, January 19, 2017
Tech | By Arthur Brown

South Korean prosecutors seek to arrest Samsung heir

Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker, is already reeling from the worldwide debacle over its Galaxy Note 7, which was recalled after some devices caught fire.

The special prosecutor has requested an arrest warrant for Lee, Samsung's de facto leader, on charges of bribery in connection with the scandal that has led to President Park Geun-hye's impeachment.

"We believe that there was an illegal request made by Samsung in facilitating the process of business succession", Lee Kyu-chul, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office, said in the briefing.

Prosecutors have evidence showing that Ms Park and Choi shared profits made through bribery payments, he said, without elaborating.

But special prosecutors, on their decision to proceed, said that the national economy was important but "justice more so".

THe Wall Street Journal claims that the large, family-controlled conglomerates such as Samsung that dominate South Korea's economy historically have enjoyed lenient treatment from the country's judicial system-a factor that has contributed to public anger over the scandal encircling the president.

A small glimmer of sunshine for what has been an extremely rocky year or so for Samsung.

The court's decision keeps Mr.

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Officials say they do not seek arrest warrants for three other Samsung Group executives who also underwent questioning.

It also undermined prosecutors' move to expand investigations into several other companies that have "donated" millions of dollars to dubious foundations Park's jailed confidante Choi Soon-Sil used for her personal benefit, Yonhap news agency said.

Lee is accused of bribing Choi and her daughter in return for getting support from the national pension fund in the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates to create a de-facto holding company. "I've been told that Samsung Electronics has been terrified for a while now about this incident dealing a damaging blow in the United States market, which accounts for such a large portion of its business", said an attorney with one major law firm.

Last month he acknowledged ordering the world's third-largest pension fund to support the merger of Samsung C&T Corp and Cheil Industries in 2015 while heading the health ministry, which oversees the NPS.

It was opposed by many investors who said it wilfully undervalued Samsung C&T's shares.

Samsung came under criticism at that time, particularly from NY hedge fund and activist shareholder Elliot Management, who tried, unsuccessfully at the time, to block the deal.

NPS chairman Moon Hyung-pyo was indicted on Monday on charges of abuse of power and giving false testimony.

The 64-year-old was impeached last month by parliament over an influence-peddling scandal that has rocked the country.

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