Samsung chief awaits verdict in arrest warrant hearing

The special prosecutor has accused Samsung vice chairman Jay Y. Lee of paying bribes totaling $36.70 million in a corruption scandal that last month led South Korea's parliament to impeach President Park Geun-hye.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Samsung Group chief, Jay Y. Lee, is surrounded by media as he arrives at the Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea, January 18, 2017.

Samsung group chief Jay Y. Lee was questioned behind closed doors by a South Korean judge on Wednesday to decide whether he should be arrested over his alleged role in a corruption scandal.

The South Korean parliament last month voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye over allegations of peddling influence in the same scandal.

Jay Y. Lee, 48, did not answer questions from reporters as he left the Seoul Central District Court after the nearly four-hour hearing and headed by car to a detention centre to await his fate.

Links to impeached president

The special prosecutor's office 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 2014, was questioned last week for 22 straight hours at the prosecutor's office in Seoul. He has denied wrongdoing.

The court ordered Lee to be held at the Seoul Detention Centre while it reviews the warrant request. The court's decision is expected later Wednesday or early Thursday.

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 President Park.

Allegedly the bribe was aimed at securing the 2015 merger of two affiliates and cement his control of the family business.

President Park, who remains in office but stripped of her powers while the court decides her fate, has denied wrongdoing.


TRTWorld, Reuters