Vice chairman of Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, was arrested in Seoul, South Korea on Friday morning local time on charges of bribery, perjury, and embezzlement. Lee was taken into custody at Seoul Detention Center, where he was already being held during several court hearings.
The Seoul Central District Court rejected the initial request to arrest Lee in January, but today issued a warrant for his arrest after additional evidence was provided. Lee is the first Samsung executive to ever be arrested on criminal charges, and his trial could take up to 18 months, according to Bloomberg.
Prosecutors claim Samsung paid up to 43 billion won ($37.6 million) in bribes to South Korean officials to secure government favors, primarily relating to the merger of two Samsung units. Specifically, Lee allegedly paid significant sums of money and provided gifts to presidential adviser Choi Soon-sil and his companies. Choi has been in custody since November last year.
The bribery charges surrounding Lee allegedly tie in to a major South Korean government corruption scandal, which led to the impeachment of president Park Geun-hye last year.
Lee Jae-yong has essentially been the head of Samsung Group since his elderly father, chairman by title, was hospitalized in 2014.
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