South Korean prosecutors say they will charge Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee with a list of charges linked to his alleged role in a top-level corruption scandal. Ryan Brooks reports.
Samung's leader Jay Y Lee indicted on a string of criminal charges Tuesday (February 28). South Korean prosecutors saying he'll be formally charged with bribery, embezzlement, and hiding assets overseas alongside four other Samsung Group execs. Lee himself will also be charged with perjury before parliament. It all links back to a corruption scandal running all the way to impeached President Park Geun-hye. Authorities allege Lee paid bribes to get official support on a 2015 merger that cemented his control of Samsung Group. But as Reuters Vincent Lee reports, the billionaire will be deflecting the blame in a very specific direction. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS SOUTH KOREA CORRESPONDENT, VINCENT LEE, SAYING: "In terms of his defense, it seems very clear that he will argue that he did not seek favors or try to pay bribes to curry favor at this point. Instead it seems that what he will argue is that he was instead a victim of coercion, from pressure from the president." Even though Samsung Group and Lee deny paying millions in alleged bribes, the company announced on Tuesday it will dismantle its corporate strategy office, the nerve center that prosecutors say worked with Lee to pay off the president and her confidante Choi Soon-sil. Top execs from that office are among the group charged alongside Lee. Now Samsung's divisions will steer themselves. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS SOUTH KOREA CORRESPONDENT, VINCENT LEE, SAYING: "In terms of short terms operations they have a lot of professional managers in charge of the various affiliates in the medium to long term, some key decisions like major investments into new um new businesses or major acquisitions may get delayed as a result of Lee actually being detained and actually facing a prison term. Meanwhile, special prosecutor's office is set reveal the outcome of its probe into President Park next week. The case against her will be handed over to regular prosecutors while she remains a suspect, and officials say other South Korean corporate giants beyond Samsung may be pulled into the scandal.