Samsung heir to be indicted on bribery charges

Seoul, Feb 28 (IANS) Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of Samsung Group, will be indicted on charges of bribery, an independent counsel said on Tuesday, as investigators wrap up their probe into an influence-peddling scandal.

Prosecutors suspect that Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., gave or promised some 43 billion won ($36 million) worth of bribes to President Park Geun-hye’s jailed friend Choi Soon-sil in return for the government’s backing of a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The business merger was seen as critical for the smooth management succession of the group from ailing Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee to his only son Lee.

The investigation team, led by Park Young-soo, was given 70 days with another 20 days for preparation to look into the allegations President Park let her friend Choi meddle in state affairs and amass profits using her ties to the president.

Lee was formally arrested by the investigators earlier this month, marking the first time that the chief of the country’s largest family-run business group has been detained.