The vice-chairman of Samsung's electronics division, and heir of the whole conglomerate, Lee Jae-yong (pictured left)was arrested by South Korean police early on Friday over allegedly bribing a "close friend" of Korean president Park Geun-hye to the tune of $40m (€37.57m) to secure policy favours, Reuters claims.
The Seoul Central District Court reportedly issued a warrant for the Samsung chief's arrest on Friday for suspicions of bribery, perjury, hiding assets overseas and embezzlement, after prosecutor Park Young-soo, who was putting together a bribery case against the executive, produced fresh evidence. Jae-yong was taken into custody to the Seoul Detention Centre, where he awaits further action from the court.
Samsung and Jae-yong have "denied wrongdoing" in the case, according to Reuters. Prosecutors have up to ten days to indict the Samsung executive, but are able to apply for an extension. Once the indictment has been made, the court is required to make its first ruling within three months.
A Samsung spokesperson told Reuters that no decision has been made concerning whether the firm will contest the arrest, or whether a bail would be sought. It was widely reported that Jae-yong narrowly avoided a formal arrest in January, after the court ruled that there was insufficient evidence.
The arrest comes after what has proved a rough six months for the Korean technology behemoth. In October, Samsung revealed that it was expecting to wipe three trillion won (€2.4bn) from its operating profits, as a result of discontinuing its Galaxy Note 7 product range, which reportedly overheated and burst into flames.Samsung was forced to recall 2.5 million phones to address the problem. The firm's shares plummeted by eight per cent - or by $17bn - when reports of faulty devices first emerged.
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