Samsung connected with corrupted President of South Korea
South Korean prosecutors on Monday sought the arrest of the heir to giant conglomerate Samsung for bribery in connection with a political scandal that has seen President Park Geun-Hye impeached.
Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, is already reeling from the international debacle over its Galaxy Note 7, which was recalled after some devices caught fire.
In a statement, prosecutors investigating the political scandal said they asked a Seoul court to issue an arrest warrant for Lee Jae-Yong, the son of the Samsung group chairman Lee Kun-Hee.
Samsung - the South’s biggest business group by revenue, which is equivalent to a fifth of the country’s GDP - has dozens of units including flagship Samsung Electronics.
Lee’s arrest could have an “important” impact on the South Korean economy, a spokesman for the prosecutors acknowledged. “But we believe that achieving justice is more important,” he told reporters.
The scandal centres on Park’s secret confidante Choi Soon-Sil, who is accused of using her ties with the president to coerce top local firms into “donating” nearly $70 million to dubious non-profit foundations, which Choi then used as her personal ATMs, in exchange for political favours.
Samsung is the single biggest contributor to the foundations and separately paid Choi millions of euros, allegedly to bankroll her daughter’s equestrian training in Germany.
Samsung’s bribes totalled 43 billion won ($36.4 million), the prosecution spokesman said, adding Lee was also accused of embezzlement for spending corporate funds for bribery.
The Seoul Central District Court said it would rule on the prosecutors’ request on Wednesday. If it approves the move, Lee - who was questioned by prosecutors for a marathon 22-hour session last week - will be the first senior executive arrested in connection with the scandal.
Katehon notes that this corruption scheme was possible only because neoliberal political agenda in the country and U.S. umbrella. Very possible that American intelligence known about bribery and controlled some key figures in South Korea for own interests in region.