Samsung Chief Lee Jae-yong To Be Arrested On Fraud Charges

Lee Jae-yong
Lee Jae-yong KIM HONG-JI/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Lee Jae-yong, the powerful South Korean businessman who serves as the de facto head of Samsung, is set to be arrested by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office after an arrest warrant was filed citing charges of market manipulation and accounting fraud.

Lee is the third wealthiest person in South Korea with a fortune estimated at $7.9B. He is the eldest son of Lee Kun-hee, Samsung’s chairman, and is expected to be his father’s future successor.

According to BusinessKorea, the charges stem from the merger between Samsung C&T and chemical and textiles company Cheil Industries in 2015. Prosecutors allege that the value of Samsung BioLogics, the biopharmaceutical unit of Samsung Group, was deliberately overinflated by fraudulent accounting to allow Lee to take control of the wider group.

Lee has previously run afoul of the law, landing five years in prison back in 2017 on bribery charges; he was released in February 2018 on appeal.

The exec has, however, received some more positive write-ups during the coronavirus pandemic through his efforts to get Samsung producing COVID-19 testing kits and significant donations of aid and resources to fight the virus.

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