Samsung's vice chairman and current leader of Samsung Group, Jay Lee, is set to have his day in court over a part that prosecutors allege he played in a bribery scandal that shook South Korea to its core as well as landed South Korean president Park Geun-hye in hot water that resulted in her impeachment last month, and could also lead to her being the first democratically elected public office holder to be pushed out office before her term is over if the vote is upheld. The court hearing that could lead to Lee's arrest and formal trial is scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM, or 1:30 AM GMT. The hearing is scheduled to take place at the Seoul Central District Court, after Lee has spent a few hours at a special prosecutor's office in Seoul.
The special prosecutor is said to be seeking an arrest warrant for Lee on charges of perjury, embezzlement, and bribery. Lee stands accused of paying out about 46 billion won to organizations linked to a key player in the scandal and a close associate of the President, Choi Soon-sil. The goal of these bribes, allegedly, was to boost Samsung's and his own influence in the country, and to get a merger pushed through that would strengthen the Lee family's hold on the company. The charges of embezzlement come from an assertion that Lee appropriated company funds for this purpose, rather than laying his own cash on the line. The charges of perjury come from the fact that Lee denied that all of this had anything to do with bribery when he was questioned for 22 hours about a week ago.
The National Pension Fund allegedly has a hand in the proceedings as well; chairman Moon Hyung-pyo was arrested in connection with the scandal, and even confessed to having his organization support the controversial merger. Samsung, for their part, is asking the court not to arrest Lee, and is asserting that his hand was essentially forced through negotiations with state agents. They also asserted that the merger of Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T that led to Lee having de facto control over large parts of the company is unrelated to any money that may have changed hands.