Samsung's de facto leader Jay Y Lee faces formal indictment by South Korean prosecutors after his arrest for alleged bribery charges linked to a top-level corruption scandal. Ryan Brooks reports.
Samung's leader Jay Y Lee is likely to face indictment Tuesday (February 28). It's the deadline for South Korean prosecutors to formally accuse the billionaire, and possibly five suspected Samsung Group execs of charges of bribery linked to a corruption scandal running all the way to President Park Geun-hye. Those in return for favors, including support for a 2015 merger that ensured Lee's control of the group. If he's indicted it could affect his family's leadership succession. Lee was arrested two weeks ago. But as Reuters Vincent Lee reports, a long-term stay could derail Samsung. (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." Even though Samsung Group and Lee deny paying the nearly 38 million dollars in alleged bribes. The company has pledged more transparency and two senior execs offered to resign last week, both of them suspects. Lee himself maintains he is innocent. (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." Lee can seek bail after he is indicted and a court has to make its first ruling within three months. His number two, Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung is one of the executives suspected of wrongdoing. If he steps down, and Lee's stuck in jail analysts tell Reuters South Korea's biggest conglomerate will go through some radical changes at the top.