Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Capital Business
Capital Business

Gadgets & Apps

Samsung heir becomes suspect in corruption scandal: prosecutors

Samsung heir and vice chairman Lee Jae-Yong has been named a criminal suspect in the scandal engulfing South Korean President Park Geun-Hye © AFP/File / JUNG YEON-JE

Seoul, Korea, Republic of, Jan 11 – Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong has become a criminal suspect in a widening probe into the corruption and influence-peddling scandal engulfing impeached South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and the son of the Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-Hee, would be quizzed as a “suspect” in connection to bribery, prosecutors said.

“We have decided to question Lee tomorrow morning… as a suspect,” Lee Kyu-Chul, spokesman for the team of special prosecutors investigating the scandal, told reporters.

The affair centres on Park’s secret confidante Choi Soon-Sil, who is accused of using her ties to Park to coerce top firms into “donating” tens of millions of dollars to two non-profit foundations which Choi then used as her personal ATMs.

Samsung was the biggest contributor to the foundations. It is also accused of separately giving millions of euros to Choi to bankroll her daughter’s equestrian training in Germany in a bid to curry favour.

Prosecutors have for months questioned Lee and other senior Samsung officials. The officials reportedly argued that although they were coerced to offer money, they sought no favours in return and thus the payments were not a bribe.

Spokesman Lee said prosecutors “left open the possibility” of formally arresting the Samsung scion later.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Samsung bribed Choi in order to win state approval for a controversial merger which it sought in 2015.

The merger of two Samsung group units — Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T — was seen as a crucial step towards ensuring a smooth third-generation power transfer to Lee Jae-Yong.

It was criticised by many, who said it wilfully undervalued Samsung C&T’s stocks. But the National Pension Service (NPS) — a major Samsung shareholder — voted in favour of the deal and it eventually went through.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Prosecutors have raided multiple Samsung offices as well as the NPS in connection with the scandal. The fund — the world’s third largest pension fund — is overseen by the welfare ministry.

A former welfare minister was arrested last month for allegedly pressuring NPS officials to vote in favour of the Samsung deal.

Park, who stands accused of colluding with Choi to extract money from the firms, was impeached by parliament last month but denies any criminal wrongdoing.

The Constitutional Court is currently reviewing the validity of her impeachment.

Choi is on trial for charges including coercion and abuse of power.

Click to comment
Advertisement

More on Capital Business

Executive Lifestyle

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – The country’s super wealthy individuals are increasing their holding of bonds, gold and cash, a new report by Knight...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi has urged members of the public to exercise extreme caution when making any...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi is set to own half of Centum Investment Company PLC, following a go-ahead...

Ask Kirubi

It is without a doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the whole world by surprise. Although its full impact is yet to be...

Headlines

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Commercial Banks have been ordered to provide relief to borrowers on their personal loans, with loans eligible from March...

Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun17 – Kenya’s tea leaves manufacturer Kericho Gold, has been awarded the Superbrands Seal by Superbrands East Africa for their quality variety...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – As the local telecommunications industry gears up to roll out 5G networks in the country, the Communications Authority of...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Airtel Kenya is offering free internet access for students in order to enable continued learning at home in the...