Samsung chief Jay Y Lee appears before court in ‘graft case’

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Seoul | Updated: January 18, 2017 9:31:31 AM

A special prosecutor on Monday said it would seek a warrant to arrest the third-generation leader of the country's largest conglomerate on suspicion of bribery, embezzlement and perjury.

samsung, samsung chief jay y lee, jay y lee, south korea, samsung leader jay y lee, lee kun-hee, constitutional court, corruptionVice Chairman of Samsung Electronics, Jay Y Lee. Source: Reuters.

South Korean political crises: Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee arrived on Wednesday morning at a Seoul court where a judge will decide whether he should be arrested over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that led parliament to impeach President Park Geun-hye
Lee, 48, in dark overcoat and purple necktie, did not answer questions from reporters on his way into the special prosecutor’s office and then the Seoul Central District Court, where he was driven in a black government Kia Carnival minivan.

A special prosecutor on Monday said it would seek a warrant to arrest the third-generation leader of the country’s largest conglomerate on suspicion of bribery, embezzlement and perjury.

Lee, who has been the de facto leader of South Korea’s biggest conglomerate since his father Lee Kun-hee was incapacitated by a 2014 heart attack, was questioned last week for 22 straight hours at the prosecutor’s office in Seoul.
He has denied wrongdoing.

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Park, 64, was impeached last month by parliament over the influence-peddling scandal, a decision that if upheld by the Constitutional Court will see her become the country’s first democratically-elected leader forced from office early.
Park, who remains in office but stripped of her powers while the court decides her fate, has denied wrongdoing.

The hearing was scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) and it is possible that the judge’s decision may not be announced until after midnight, a court official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Lee was to be driven back to the special prosecutor’s office in the Gangnam district of southern Seoul to await the judge’s decision, the office said. The special prosecutor has accused Lee of paying bribes totalling 43 billion won ($36.70 million) to organisations linked to Choi Soon-sil, a friend of the president who is at the centre of the scandal, to secure the 2015 merger of two affiliates and cement his control of the family business.
Earlier this week, the special prosecutor indicted the chairman of the National Pension Service (NPS), the world’s third-largest pension fund, on charges of abuse of power and giving false testimony.

Earlier this week, the special prosecutor indicted the chairman of the National Pension Service (NPS), the world’s third-largest pension fund, on charges of abuse of power and giving false testimony.

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NPS chairman Moon Hyung-pyo was arrested in December after acknowledging ordering it to support the controversial $8 billion merger in 2015 of the two Samsung Group affiliates while heading the health ministry, which oversees the NPS.

On Tuesday, the special prosecutor’s office said it did not seek arrest warrants for three other Samsung Group executives that also underwent questioning, in order to minimise the impact on Samsung business. The group’s flagship, Samsung Electronics, is the world’s biggest maker of smartphones, flatscreen TVs and memory chips.

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