Samsung leader Lee Jae-yong arrested on multiple convictions

Seoul South Korea

Though the ailing Samsung chair was convicted before, the 75-year-old has never spent time in prison.

Samsung Group, which oversees almost 60 affiliate companies, has denied allegations it provided financial aid to Ms Park's confidante, Choi Soon-sil, in return for political favours.

Lee Jae-yong, Samsung's vice chairman and the company's current acting leader, has officially been arrested on charges that he attempted to bribe the president of South Korea.

This time, Lee was immediately arrested after the courts issued the warrant and was placed under physical detention in a facility in Uiwang, where he was actually waiting for the court's decision. He will remain there because of the arrest warrant, the publication said. "If the ongoing probe ends, I will take appropriate measures on anybody including myself, who are found to be accountable for", Lee said during a parliamentary hearing in December, according to Bloomberg. "There's a chance the suspect could destroy evidence or flee, so arresting him is appropriate", a court spokesperson told Bloomberg.

Samsung said in a statement on Wednesday it had "not paid bribes nor made improper requests to the president seeking favours". The company and its affiliates are estimated to account for nearly a fifth of the country's exports.

The investigators are also reportedly looking at whether South Korea's fair trade commission gave any favors to Samsung related to a complex cross shareholding structure that allows the Lee family to exert an outsized influence on Samsung Electronics and its dozens of affiliates, while holding a small stake. The pension fund's current chief was arrested previous year on suspicion of pressuring the fund to back the merger, which helped Lee increase his influence in Samsung Electronics without spending any of his money.

While Lee is Samsung's current vice chairman, he is essentially de facto head of the company given his father, chairman Lee Kun-hee, has been hospitalised since 2014 after suffering a heart attack. An investigation - or even worse, a prosecution - by the South Korean government could delay those plans. They also suspect that the country's Fair Trade Commission and Financial Services Group were pushing for policies that favored Samsung due to their "contribution" to foundations that Choi was representing.

Lee and the Samsung Group denied any wrongdoing.

"We will do our best for the truth to be revealed in court", it said.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 2.74 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,079.10 as of 11:20 a.m.

Update, 3 p.m. PT: Adds Samsung comment.



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