World

Samsung heir indicted for bribery, embezzlement

SEOUL: The heir to the Samsung empire and four other top executives from the conglomerate were indicted yesterday on charges including bribery and embezzlement, prosecutors said.

"Special prosecutors today indicted Samsung Electronics vice-chairman Lee Jae Yong... for bribery, embezzlement, hiding of assets overseas... and perjury," said Mr Lee Kyu Chul, spokesman for the team probing the corruption scandal that has seen South Korean President Park Geun Hye impeached.

Lee, 48, was arrested earlier this month and the laying of formal charges against him and his colleagues makes them almost certain to face trial.

He has effectively been at the helm of Samsung since his father suffered a heart attack in 2014.

ALLEGATIONS

Among other allegations, Lee is accused of paying nearly US$40 million (S$56 million) in bribes to a confidante of Ms Park's to secure policy favours.

Lee - who is also accused of concealing stolen assets - has denied all charges. His colleagues face similar charges except for the perjury count.

The scandal centres on Choi Soon Sil, who is accused of using her close ties with Ms Park to force firms to "donate" nearly US$70 million to non-profit foundations, which Choi allegedly used for personal gain.

Samsung was the single biggest donor to the foundations. It is also accused of separately giving millions of euros to Choi to bankroll her daughter's equestrian training in Germany. - AFP

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