Samsung’s heir apparent, Lee Jae-yong, will be indicted on multiple charges including bribery and perjury in his native South Korea. The country’s special prosecutor plans to indict Lee along with another four executives, a spokesperson for the body told reporters, in relation to bribes allegedly given to the South Korean government in exchange for favors.
Lee faces formal charges of bribery, perjury, embezzlement, hiding assets abroad, and concealing profit from criminal acts. He was arrested earlier this month following claims that Samsung paid 43 billion won ($38 million) to secure government support of a huge corporate merger in 2015. Money was allegedly directed from Samsung to companies controlled by a close friend of South Korean president Park Geun-hye. President Park herself was impeached last December after a corruption scandal that gripped the country.
Lee has been believed to be the power behind the throne at the world’s biggest smartphone maker after his father, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack in 2014. The 2015 merger, between Samsung C&T Corp. and Cheil Industries, helped solidify the younger Lee’s control over Samsung as a whole and allow him to take steps toward the top job
If his indictment goes as planned, however, reporters notes it could drag on for as much as 18 months, delaying the process of appointing Samsung’s new boss significantly.