The head of Samsung, one of the world's largest companies, was accused of bribery and embezzlement charges on Tuesday. This allegation has made him one of the most prominent business tycoons to ever face trial in South Korea.
Samsung Head Faces Bribery Charges
According to a report coming from Vox, the bribery charges filed for Lee Jae-yong, the company's majority leader, came right at the end of a special prosecutor's 90-day investigation of an alleged corruption scandal that has already led to the impeachment of South Korea President Park Geun-hye. When a huge crowd of Korean citizens took to the streets in the recent months to demand that she leave the Presidential office, they were also calling for the impeachment of Mr. Lee and other corporate titans.
Lee Jae-yong's Arrest
Mr. Lee was eventually arrested on Feb. 17. The arrest has thus brought a dramatic development in South Korea's efforts in ending collusive ties between the government and the family-controlled conglomerates that have been dominating and manipulating the country's economy.
Other Samsung Officials Also Indicted
Aside from Lee, four other senior executives of Samsung were also indicted on Tuesday, but they were not arrested on the same corruption charges as Mr. Lee. Three of the four resigned from their posts. The following indictments had been expected and were not seen as indications of a possible threat to the Lee family's control of the business.
South Korea Has Had Enough
According to The New York Times, South Koreans have grown tired of the increasing corruption and the country's traditional leniency toward tycoons that are accused of white-collar crimes. For decades, Korean presidents have entered office vowing to end such issues, but they were all eventually backtracked.
The Accusation Thrown At Mr. Lee
Lee Jae-yong was accused of giving $38 million in bribes to Choi Soon-sil, a secretive confidante of Ms. Park. As a compensation, the prosecutor said during his indictment, Mr. Lee will receive political favors. Most notable government support for a potential merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that resulted in his inheritance of a corporate control from his disabled father, Lee Kun-hee.