Samsung Vice Chair, Four Others Indicted On Bribery & Embezzlement Charges

Image courtesy of Eric Hauser

A week after a South Korean court approved a warrant for the arrest of Samsung vice chairman Jay Y. Lee in connection with a bribery case, the executive and four others were officially indicted. 

The New York Times reports that Lee, who was arrested on Feb. 17, was indicted on bribery and embezzlement charges while four other senior executives — three that have resigned — were indicted for the same charges, but not arrested.

Lee initially avoided arrest last month when a court denied the prosecutor’s first warrant request, citing a lack of evidence.

The indictments come at the end of the South Korean special prosecutor’s 90-day investigation into a corruption scandal involving South Korea President Park Geun-hye.

Lee was first publicly tied to the case last month when he faced 22 hours of questioning related to his part in the scandal.

The case involves whether or not millions of dollars in payments from Samsung to businesses and foundations run by an associate of the President’s — Choi Soon-sil — constituted a bribe, and if Lee had any personal dealings with the contributions.

The prosecutor’s office alleges that Samsung’s contributions — including $17 million in donations to Choi’s foundation and millions of dollars worth of contracts to companies she ran or was involved with — were made in exchange for a decision by the National Pension Services to support a merger of two of the electronic company’s affiliates.

The merger was personally reportedly beneficial to Lee, as it eventually led him to take over control of Samsung from his father.

The Times reports that while Lee was charged with embezzlement and bribery, he was also accused of perjury stemming from claims he made in a preliminary hearing that he never bribed Choi or President Park.

He continues to claim that the millions of dollars in “donations” Samsung paid were coerced, the Times reports.

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