Authorities took Jay Y Lee, the heir of the world’s largest smartphone company, Samsung Electronics under custody on Friday. The charges were linked to his part in Presient Park Geun-hye’s massive corruption scandal in South Korea.
Jay Y Lee was the next person in line to continue the smartphone giant’s success, after Samsung’s chief was incapacitated due to a heart attack in 2014. Lee has since been the de facto boss of Samsung.
Lee was accused of bribing Choi Soon-Sil, the close friend of President Park close to $40 million to obtain policy favors from the government. The bribery was done through huge donations, which was allegedly used by Choi Soon-Sil for personal gain. It all revolves around the hugely controversial merger of Samsung C&T with Cheil Industries, an affiliate of the former. Many investors said that Samsung’s shares would drop when the merger was finalized in 2015. The merger seemed to be important for Lee to gain a strong foothold as the leader of South Korea’s biggest business empire.
President Park was impeached after an investigation. She still holds her seat in the office, but cannot control anything. The final outcome will determine whether she gets to completes her four year term next February.
Jay Y Lee avoided an arrest only a few weeks ago as the authorities had insufficient evidence at the time. As more evidence was collected over the weeks, the prosecutors made a bid to get him arrested on Tuesday. Lee was already being held in a detention center when the warrant for his arrest was out; and was taken directly into custody after.
Both Lee and Samsung plead innocent to the corruption scandal.