Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong has been arrested on bribery charges

Lee has become the first Samsung boss to be arrested.

Mr. Lee is the vice chairman of Samsung.

The Seoul Central District Court issued the warrant for Lee's arrest early Friday.

The court dismissed prosecutors' request to arrest Park Sang-jin, a president at Samsung Electronics overseeing external relations, saying that it was hard to justify Park's arrest given his position and role within the company.

Samsung and Lee have denied wrongdoing in the case.

If the court approves the warrant, prosecutors will be able to take him into custody for up to 21 days before formally pressing charges. He will face charges of bribery, embezzlement and perjury.

However, prosecutors this week argued that after three weeks of further investigation, they had obtained new evidence and filed new charges.

An investigation - or even worse, a prosecution - by the South Korean government could delay those plans.

Assassination: Malaysia detains two women, man
Scientists have been speculating about what substance could have killed Kim Jong Nam so quickly and without being ingested. It is still not known why the 45-year-old self-exile from North Korea was killed or by whom, or why he was in Malaysia.

Former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has declared that he won't run for South Korea's presidency. The judge decided on the arrest only 10 hours after Lee left the court. Some planned to stay all night. He appeared in court yesterday to try and avert the arrest, but the court did not reject the warrant this time.

"In the short term, it could have an impact on the stock, only because of sentiment, and also because the stock has risen a lot recently", said Jung Sang-jin, a fund manager at Korea Investment Management, which includes Samsung Electronics in its holdings. Park even put down in writing his displeasure with Choi's behavior, since she was still standing on her request for Samsung to buy a new horse.

The court move against Lee represents a significant breakthrough in the probe and a potential hurdle for the South Korean tech giant's future direction.

The scandal centres around Choi Soon-Sil, who is accused of using her connections with Park forcing local firms to "donate" almost $70 million to non-profit foundations.

"Lee's arrest increases the risk that additional evidence will come to light that Samsung paid Park's confidante, Choi Soon-sil, in return for the government's help in securing approval for a merger in 2015 of Samsung C&T Corporation and a sister firm, Cheil Industries", Seaman wrote.

However, Lee's defense team reportedly maintained that Samsung gave donations under pressure from the president with no benefits attached. The current head of the pension fund was indicted last month over his role in pressuring the fund to support the merger.

Samsung's links to the corruption investigation have done further damage to the company's image after the humiliating fiasco over its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphone past year.


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