South Korean prosecutors to charge Samsung Group chief and 4 other executives

South Korean prosecutors say they will charge Samsung Group leader Jay Y Lee with a list of charges linked to his alleged role in a top-level corruption scandal.
Lee Jay Yong is escorted by police officers as he arrives at the special prosecutors' office for questioning in Seoul.
Lee Jay Yong is escorted by police officers as he arrives at the special prosecutors' office for questioning in Seoul.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea's special prosecutor's office said on Tuesday (Feb 28) that it will charge Samsung Group scion Lee Jay Yong and four other executives with bribery, embezzlement and other offences on its last day of its investigation into a political scandal that has rocked the country.

Lee was arrested on Feb 17 over his alleged role in the corruption scandal involving President Park Geun Hye, dealing a fresh blow to the technology giant and standard-bearer for Asia's fourth-largest economy.

A Constitutional Court ruling on whether to uphold the impeachment, which would result in South Korea’s first democratically elected leader being thrown out of office, is expected next month.

“The five executives will face charges including bribery, embezzlement and hiding assets overseas,” said Lee Kyu Chul, a spokesman for the special prosecutor, on the last day of its investigation.

Lee will also be charged with committing perjury before parliament, he added.


The other executives to be charged are Samsung Group Vice-Chairman Choi Gee Sung, President Chang Choong Ki and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd President Park Sang Jin and Executive Vice-President Hwang Sung Soo, the spokesman said.

A Samsung Group spokesman declined to comment on the charges.

Lee, the spokesman, said the case against President Park would be handed over to regular prosecutors with Park remaining a suspect, while signalling other conglomerates may also become involved in the investigation.

Park was impeached by parliament in December after accusations that she colluded with long-time friend Choi Soon Sil to pressure big businesses, including Samsung, to donate to two foundations set up to back the president’s policy initiatives.

The special prosecutor’s office will make an official announcement regarding the conclusion of its investigation on March 6.