Samsung group leader Jay Y. Lee was arrested Friday for his role in a corruption scandal that rocked the highest levels in South Korea and hit the world’s largest smartphone and memory chips maker.
Samsung Leader Lee, a 48-year-old descendant of the country’s richest family, was detained at the Seoul Detention Center after waiting one night to make his decision. He was detained in a cell with a television and an office, said a prison official.
Lee is a suspect in the influence peddling scandal that led parliament to end President Park Geun-hye in December, a decision that if confirmed by the Constitutional Court would make its first democratically elected from the forced country Of his post.
The shares of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd fell 1.4 percent, while Samsung C & T Corp, a de facto Samsung Group holding, declined by 2.8 percent compared with the decline in the market Of 0.2 per cent.
Prosecutors have up to 10 days to investigate Lee, Samsung’s third generation leader, although they may apply for an extension. After the indictment, a court would be required to render a decision within three months.
No decision was made as to whether Lee’s arrest would be challenged or whether the surety would be sought, a Samsung’s Group spokesman said.
Samsung’s Lee denied the wrongdoing in the case.
“We will do our best to ensure that the truth is revealed in future court proceedings,” the Samsungs Group said in a brief statement after Lee’s arrest.
The same court had rejected an application last month to arrest Lee, but prosecutors on Tuesday brought additional charges against Lee, seeking to be arrested for corruption and other charges.
“We recognize the cause and necessity of the arrest,” a judge said in his decision.
The judge dismissed the prosecution’s request to arrest the president of Samsung Electronics, Park Sang-jin.
While Lee’s detention should not hamper the day-to-day operation of Samsung businesses, which are led by professional managers, experts said it could hinder strategic decision-making at South Korea’s largest conglomerate, Or chaebol.
Samsung was in the midst of an ongoing restructuring to clear a path of succession for Lee to take control after his father was unable by a heart attack in 2014.
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Decisions that may be complicated by Lee’s arrest include deliberations as to whether the group should be reorganized in a holding structure, as well as his plan to abandon his future strategy bureau, a central decision-making body which was criticized during the scandal.
Personnel movements have also been in limbo. Which employs more than 250,000 people, has yet to announce annual promotions and staff changes, which it usually does in December.
An employee of the chip division of Samsung Electronics said colleagues were uncertain that prosecutors had chosen Samsung.
“The mood is that people are worried,” said the employee.
However, another employee of Samsung Electronics described the situation as a business as usual.
“It would not make sense for a company of this size to not function properly just because the owner is away.”
Both refused to be identified, given the sensitivity of the issue.
Lee’s incarceration occurs as Samsung Electronics tries to overcome last year’s disastrous roll-out of its flawless Galaxy Note 7 smartphones. It is under pressure for the upcoming launch of its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, to be a hit.
Some worry about the impact on Samsung, a flag bearer for the technological prowess and manufacturing of South Korea.
“We express our concern and regret that the leading company in South Korea, which is at the forefront of global competition, is facing a management vacuum,” said the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Reduction of zero
The arrest of Lee gives a boost to prosecutors who have put the zero in the Samsung’s group to build their lawsuit against President Park and his close friend, Choi Soon-sil, who is in custody and faces charges Abuse of power and attempted fraud.
Park and Choi both denied the misdeeds.
The prosecutors looked at Samsung’s relationship with Park, 65, accusing the group of paying bribes totaling KRW 43 billion ($ 37.74 million) to Choi-related organizations for support from Government for the 2015 merger of two Samsung units.
If the indictment of Parliament is upheld, an election will be held in two months. In the meantime, Park stays in office but stripped of his powers.
His future successors praised the decision to arrest Lee.
“We hope this marks the beginning of our company’s bad practice of warm ties between government and business and moving to a fair country,” said Kim Kyoung-soo, a spokesman for Moon Jae-in, which conducts polls in the presidential race.