The de facto head of Samsung, Jay Y. Lee, is facing the potential of years behind bars after South Korean prosecutors said today that they intend to indite him on bribery charges, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Lee was arrested earlier this month on bribery, embezzlement, and perjury charges related to giving $37 million to an advisor of President Park Geun-hye in exchange for political favors. Lee, who took a board seat last September and is heading up the company in the absence of his sick father, is said to have told authorities that he ” felt coerced” into making the payments, according to the Journal’s report.
Prosecutors said they intend to officially announce the indictment of Lee and four other Samsung officials today. That would mean that they could face trial, which could take 18 months, although Bloomberg reported that prosecutors are pushing for a quicker three-month timeframe.
The saga is part of a wider investigation into President Park business dealings. She is currently suspended from duty awaiting an impeachment investigation around the use of unauthorized aides and advisors.
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