Samsung Leader Arrested on Bribery Charges


Kim Hong-Ji /Reuters

According to Bloomberg, Samsung’s vice chairman Lee Jae-yong (a.k.a. Jay Y. Lee) has been arrested over charges of bribery, in spite of the fact that in early January a court had yet to approve the warrant.

Regional publication Yonhap News reports  reports that this is the result of a second writ for an arrest warrant and that it included charges of hiding criminal proceeds and violating laws pertaining to transferring assets abroad. That second round of charges was key to the arrest. “The rationale for and the necessity of (Lee’s) arrest is acknowledged considering the new charges and additional evidence collected,” a statement given to press by the court said. With this, Lee will stay in a detention center until the proceedings are over. Bloomberg says that it could take as long as 18 months for a trial and verdict to be reached.Lee allegedly bribed South Korean President Park Geun-hye $38 million (43 billion won) as a way to grease the wheels of his ascent to leading the company.

Our Take

As in the United States, the arrest of major company executives is unprecedented in South Korea (SK). Nevertheless, SK “chaebol” companies (typically family-owned conglomerates) have far more national and political influence than we care to acknowledge in the United States. We predict that the impact of this scandal will not tarnish the value of the soon-to-be merged Samsung/HP brands, due to the fact that in this day and age wealth and power is penultimate. That said, your access to top-quality toner-based printers and MFPs will remain undiminished.

Stay tuned.


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