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February 14, 2017

South Korean prosecutors once again seek arrest warrant for Samsung Chief

South Korean prosecutors have again sought a warrant of arrest for Samsung Group chief Lee Jae-yong amidst bribery scandal.

By Joe Clark

South Korean Special Prosecutors are again seeking a warrant to arrest Samsung Group chief Lee Jae-yong.

Samsung has been embroiled in a bribery and corruption scandal in South Korea which has seen the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. The President is alleged to have taken tens of millions of dollars from South Korean companies, including Samsung, for special deals.

Lee, who became the de-facto leader of the Samsung Group in 2014, allegedly paid bribes of more than £30 million in return for business favours to Choi-Soon-sil, a long term friend of the now impeached president.

“We have filed for an arrest warrant for Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and President Park Sang-jin today,” the prosecution office said in a statementSamsung

The main point of contention in the prosecution’s argument states that they are trying to establish whether or not the bribes made to Choi had any impact on the controversial 2015 decision by the National Pension Service to approve an $8 billion dollar merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil industries.

Moon Hyung-Po, Chairman of the National Pension Service, was arrested last month for admitting ordering the fund to approve the merger.

Samsung has acknowledged paying several firms but denied Lee’s bribery and said: “It is difficult to understand the special prosecution’s decision.”

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“We cannot accept the special prosecutors’ argument that there were unlawful favours related to the merger or the leadership succession.”

The company is currently the largest manufacturer of smartphones, chips, and flat-screen monitors and the criminal proceedings the company currently finds itself embroiled in could have long lasting effects on acquisitions and potential future mergers.

The news comes as yet another blow to Samsung after the failure of it’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7 last year. The phone was subject to total recalls after it was found the lithium ion-batteries had the potential to short circuit and combust.

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