Anchor: The heir of Samsung Group, Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong of Samsung Electronics, has been arrested in the investigation into the Choi Soon-sil scandal. He will face trial while staying in a detention facility. Lee is suspected to have provided bribes to President Park Geun-hye's longtime confidante Choi, in a bid to facilitate a merger between Samsung components in 2015, which allowed him to cement his control over the 305-billion dollar business empire.
Kim Bum-soo has more.
Report: Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has been arrested on bribery and other charges related to the Choi Soon-sil scandal.
The Seoul Central District Court issued a warrant to detain Lee at 5:35 a.m. Friday.
The 48-year old Samsung Group heir will face trial while staying at a detention facility located some ten kilometers south of Seoul.
The court said that it recognizes the need to arrest Lee given additional evidence and new allegations of crime.
The court had turned down the special prosecution's request for Lee's arrest warrant on January 19th. In its second attempt to detain Lee, the special prosecution additionally accused him of hiding criminal proceeds and illegally transferring assets overseas in bribing the president's confidante Choi.
The independent counsel believes that Lee paid or promised bribes totaling 43 billion won, or over 36 million dollars, to the president's longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil and her family in return for the government's support of a crucial 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates. Through the merger, he cemented his ownership control over Samsung.
In a court hearing Thursday, Lee's defense lawyers argued that their client did not ask for any favors in providing the financial assistance to Choi and her family related projects, and that Lee was under pressure from President Park Geun-hye to donate the money.
While putting Lee behind bars, the court rejected the special prosecution's request for a warrant to arrest Samsung Electronics President Park Sang-jin, finding his detention unnecessary for further investigations.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.