A very significant member of Samsung Electronics has been arrested on allegations of bribery, embezzlement, and perjury, sending shares in the company tumbling.
Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Group, is being investigated for bribing politicians—to the tune of $38 million—for government support of his management succession.
After the prosecutor’s first attempt to arrest Lee was rejected by a court on Jan. 19 due to lack of evidence, the billionaire heir was called in again for 15 hours of questioning on Monday as investigators sought more information. In their second attempt, a spokesman for the special prosecutor said Tuesday that they found evidence of Lee concealing profit gained through criminal acts and hiding assets overseas.
“We will do our best to ensure that the truth is revealed in future court proceedings,” Samsung Group said in a statement. The company’s official stance is that it is denying Lee paid a bribe to the president in exchange for favors.