South Korea prosecutor says secured additional evidence against Samsung chief

Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee is surrounded by media as he arrives at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul

Samsung vice-chairman Lee Jae-Yong (also known as Jay Y. Lee) has been detained today over a corruption scandal that goes all the way up to South Korea's president Park Geun Hye.

Samsung's heir apparent Lee Jae-yong has been placed under arrest in South Korea, accused of bribery and other charges, the media reported.

Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, arrives for a hearing at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul on February 16, 2017. The Seoul court said it would hold a hearing on the arrest warrants request at (0130 GMT) on Thursday.

The court rejected their first attempt to arrest Lee last month, citing a lack of evidence to justify his arrest. Park even put down in writing his displeasure with Choi's behavior, since she was still standing on her request for Samsung to buy a new horse.

The special prosecutor's office has focused its investigations on Samsung Group's relationship with Park. Choi has been in custody since November previous year. That merger helped to give more control of Samsung over to Lee's family.

Mr Lee, who is in line to succeed his ailing father, returned home in the early hours of yesterday after 15 hours of questioning.

Samsung has said it made the payments but denied they were made in exchange for political favors. The arrest, however, does not reflect a court opinion on guilt or innocence and the prosecution have 20 days to file formal charges until the matter goes to trial.

Mr Lee has denied wrongdoing and said before his marathon interrogation that he would speak "earnestly" to prosecutors.

The National Pension Service, a major Samsung shareholder, is suspected of supporting the merger on Choi's instruction.

The court's rejection last month of the arrest request dealt a blow to the prosecutors, who have until February 28 to investigate unless parliament extends the deadline. She stands accused of colluding with Park to pressure companies, including Samsung, to donate to the president's charities.

If Lee is arrested it could also deal a serious blow to Samsung, the world's biggest maker of smartphones, memory chips and flat-screen televisions, potentially hampering strategic decision-making such as new investments and acquisitions.



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