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Samsung heir arrested for bribery

Lee Jae-yong, the vice chairman of Samsung Group, was arrested and jailed Friday in Seoul on bribery charges.

The arrest came shortly after a judge in the Seoul Central District Court issued a warrant.

Lee, 48, whose family controls Samsung, is accused of paying $36 million in bribes to President Park Geun-hye’s confidante, Choi Soon-sil.

In return, prosecutors allege he received political favors, including support for a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015. The merger allowed Lee to take de facto control of Samsung.

Lee's father, Lee Kun-hee, is incapacitated but remains Samsung's chairman. The company is the biggest chaebol, or family run conglomerate, in South Korea.

Prosecutors also charged Lee -- who's also known as Jay Y. Lee -- with embezzlement, illegal transfer of property abroad, and committing perjury during a parliamentary hearing.

South Korea President Park's powers were suspended by parliament in December for abuse of office. The Constitutional Court will decide if she'll be permanently removed from office or reinstated.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.