Jae Y. Lee, vice chairman of the Samsung Group, is in police custody today following a lengthy corruption investigation. He’s currently awaiting trial at a detention center in Seoul.
Prosecutors accused Lee of having monetary ties to Park Geun-hye, President of South Korea. As we reported in January, Lee is believed to have paid Choi Soon-sil, a confidant of Park’s, $36 million in exchange for government support of his succession. Prosecutors originally called for a warrant at the time, but the court rejected it based on a lack of evidence.
Bloomberg reports that Samsung and Lee have denied the allegations, though Lee admitted Samsung provided a horse worth more than $800,000 to Choi’s daughter. At the time, South Korea’s public National Pension Service cast an approving vote in a Samsung merger that made Lee the company’s largest shareholder.
A court spokesperson told Bloomberg that arresting the suspect was “appropriate” given the chance that he could destroy evidence or flee. Prosecutors also requested a warrant for Samsung Electronics president Park Sang-Jin, but the courts denied it.