'Crown Prince Of Samsung' Arrested, May Become Crown Prince Of Prison

By Holly Brockwell on at

It's more bad news for Samsung as its de-facto leader, Jay Y. Lee, has been arrested in South Korea in an ongoing investigation into bribery and corruption.

Known in local media as the "Crown Prince of Samsung," Vice Chairman Lee - officially known as Lee Jae-Yong - leads the company in the absence of his chairman father Lee Kun-Hee, who had a heart attack in 2014.

This development isn't too surprising, given that the office of special prosecutor Park Young-Soo had an arrest warrant back in January, but clearly whatever they had on him wasn't enough as it was dismissed and Lee was released by the court. Park's office said at the time that it would continue to investigate the case - and evidently they now have enough evidence to secure an arrest.

The case centres around allegations that Vice Chairman Lee was involved in the apparent corruption that led to the impeachment of South Korea's first female president, Park Geun-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.

As the BBC reports:

On Friday, the court said it "acknowledged that it is necessary to arrest [Lee Jae-Yong] in light of a newly added criminal charge and new evidence."

The prosecution will now investigate further, and has 20 days to file formal charges. The arrest does not reflect a court opinion on guilt or innocence but only means it considers the potential crime very serious or that it assumes a flight risk.

Lee and Samsung say they've done nothing wrong. The saga continues. [BBC]