Feb 16, 2017

Warrant issued for Samsung's vice chairman on bribery charges


A Korean court approved an arrest warrant early Friday for Jay Y. Lee, the heir apparent to Korea's Samsung conglomerate. The move is part of a widening corruption scandal that has already caused the impeachment of Korean President Park Geun-hye. Prosecutors charge that Lee, 48, funneled millions of dollars to associates of Park in an effort to curry favor.

Déjà vu all over again: If this sounds familiar, it is. It's the second time that prosecutors have tried to secure a warrant against Lee. And Lee is also following in something of a family tradition. His father, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, was convicted of bribery in 1996, and of tax evasion and breach of trust in 2009. He was pardoned both times, though, and avoided jail.

What it means: For Lee, it could imperil his efforts to succeed his father as head of the company. For Samsung, it's yet another distraction as the company's electronics unit tries to recover from last year's disastrous Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.

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