Vice Chairman Samsung Arrested on Bribery Charges

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Vice Chairman Samsung Arrested
Vice chairman Lee Jae-yong, often referred to as the crown prince of Samsung, has been under scrutiny since the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye. He has been accused of paying bribes, of a whooping 43 billion Won, or almost 37.75 US Dollars. What’s interesting is that the same request for an arrest warrant was issued by the prosecutor and was rejected by the Seoul central district court only last month. According to the prosecutors, there was additional evidence secured against the vice chairman, and even had brought ahead additional charges against him. "We acknowledge the cause and necessity of the arrest," said a judge in his ruling. Lee, 48 year old, was taken in to custody and had to wait the whole day for the court to arrive at a decision. Another request was rejected by court for the arrest warrants of Samsung Electronics president, Park Sang-Jin.

This whole fiasco started when the president of South Korea was impeached amid protest held by millions of citizens of South Korea. The charges against Park Geun-hye are that of corruption, including colluding with a very influential and allegedly corrupt personality Choi Soon Sil. She is currently the main Person of interest who is said to have a great deal of influence over the President of South Korea and other government officials. Mr. Lee comes in to the picture when he allegedly bribed President Park, and other government officials through Choi Soon Sil. The amount of 43 billion Won was paid to Choi Soon. According to a dissertation writing service, the main allegation was in relation the planned merger of Samsung C&T, the construction conglomerate by Samsung and Cheil industries.

To shorten the whole story in a nutshell, Mr. Lee paid 3.1 million USD to the company that was co-owned by Ms Choi Soon Li’s daughter and herself. Allegedly this money was supposed to influence he politicians involved in order to smooth things out and ensure that there aren’t any “bumps” along the way. This was initially refuted by Mr. Lee and he denied all of these charges he even claims to have provided evidence to the contrary. This statement slightly changed after he was questioned by the authorities for almost 22 straight hours, and he claimed that he did pay around 20.4 Billion Won (Equivalent to 17.6 million USD) as charitable donations to not-for-profit foundations. He also admitted to gifting some money for her equestrian career to the daughter of Ms. Choi, Chung Yoo Ra, and a Horse as well. Mr. Park at the time said that he regrets giving them any of those gifts because he did not know about their corrupt background, and also he was just making charitable donations and never asked for anything in return.

The Seoul Central District Court initially received the request for the warrants of arrest of Mr. Lee on Sunday January 15th. These arrests were supposedly to questions Mr. Lee about the alleged accusations of bribery, which, after much deliberation by the court was rejected. The Judge ruled that Mr. Lee was not allowed to leave the country so he does not pose a flight risk. Mr. Lee spent some time in the detention center at the time and this lead to a lot of speculation and reporting by the media at the time. The speculations right now are whether Mr. Lee will fight or bribe his way out or will he be pardoned by the government, either under the table or publicly. The pardon may happen because the Samsung group might suffer a lot due to this development.

And it currently one of the largest group of companies in the country and in the world, and hundreds of thousands of employees depend on its well being. Samsung is a Chaebol, and since the Chairman of Samsung Mr. Lee Kun-Hee, Park Lee’s father was incapacitated in 2004 after he suffered a heart attack and was limited to bed rest, Mr. Park Lee had been running the multi-billion dollar giant. There were already preparations being made to formalize this arrangement and officially name Mr. Lee as the successor to the group. Unlike the rest of the world, where Samsung is only known for its electronics, especially mobile phone, South Korea has a lot more depending on Samsung like construction, IT etc. That is why Mr. Lee was considered the most powerful man in South Korea. The power gap left by him cannot be filled by anyone in the long run, the company shares as well as the employees will suffer because of this.

However, outside of South Korea, the company’s head is not that well known, therefore according to analysts, the companies global brand will not be affected, at least not for the foreseeable future. The person spearheading the flagship brand Samsung Electronics is Oh-Hyun Kwon, who is still trying to steer the ship out of the exploding Galaxy note 7 issues, and preparing to launch the next Flagship, Samsung Galaxy 8 and Note 8. Samsung Electronics also provides other companies with components like memory, boards, display units, etc. and according to the same analysts, the arrest of Mr. Lee will not affect the purchasing decisions by any of the global customers. Despite the whole Note 7 exploding battery scandal, Samsung Brand was solid and recovered faster than any other brand could in similar circumstances.

In fact, in the last quarter of 2016, the profits foe Samsung Electronics jumped by almost 50 percent. Currently Mr. Lee is serving his time in a 71 square foot detention cell with a toilet in the corner. With only a sink/ wash stand, and no shower made available. So that Mr. Lee cannot discuss his ongoing case with anyone else, he is held in a single cell and isn’t allowed any contact with other inmates. His cell is in the Seoul Detention center that is located on the outskirts of the city. This detention center is known for holding politicians and corporate higher ups along with other influential personalities. Mr. Lee’s current worth is around 6.2 US Dollars, and the house he ordinarily resides in is his Seoul mansion, worth 4 Million US dollars.

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