"Crown Prince of Samsung" Avoids Arrest - For The Time Being

By Holly Brockwell on at

The warrant to arrest top Samsung exec Jay Y. Lee has been dismissed today by a court in South Korea and the de-facto company head has been allowed to leave the Seoul Detention Centre where he was being held, reports Reuters. Known in local media as the "Crown Prince of Samsung," Vice Chairman Lee leads the company in the absence of his chairman father Lee Kun-hee, who had a heart attack in 2014.

However, while this is undoubtedly good news for crisis-hit Samsung, which already had a fight on its hands to recover its reputation after the disastrous Galaxy Note 7 debacle, it's no guarantee that Lee is off the hook. In fact, the office of special prosecutor Park Young-soo - who originally applied for the arrest warrant - has said it will continue to investigate the case. This might mean another attempt at arrest, but it seems whatever they had on Lee wasn't convincing enough this time around.

The case centres around allegations that Vice Chairman Lee was involved in the alleged corruption that led to the recent vote to impeach South Korea's first female president, Park Guen-hye. With Samsung single-handedly accounting for 20% of South Korea's exports, this is a political nightmare for the country as well as the company.

For now, Jay Y. Lee is a free man - but no doubt all eyes will be on Samsung as it tries to come back from a catastrophic year. [Reuters via Engadget]