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Samsung’s heir apparent waits to hear if he will be arrested in corruption scandal

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NewsHubSEOUL — A South Korean court was deciding Wednesday whether to issue a warrant for the arrest of Samsung’s de facto chairman for his alleged role in an explosive corruption scandal that has riveted South Korea.
Lee Jae-yong, the heir apparent of South Korea’s largest conglomerate, attended a four-hour-long court hearing at Seoul Central District Court Wednesday morning, where Samsung lawyers argued against arresting him on charges of bribery, embezzlement and perjury.
The 48-year-old, who remained silent as he arrived at the court, went to a detention center south of Seoul to await the decision. The court’s deliberations went past midnight into early Thursday local time.
“We fully explained [our position] to the court,” Song Woo-chul, an attorney for Lee, told reporters after the hearing. “We are sure that the court will make a wise decision.”
If he is arrested, it will mean that both the head of South Korea’s biggest business and the country’s president have fallen — at least temporarily — in the widening scandal that revolves around allegations of bribery and influence at the highest levels.
The National Assembly voted to impeach Park Geun-hye last month over her alleged role in the case, leading her to be suspended from office while the Constitutional Court decides whether to approve her impeachment. That decision could come as soon as next month.
[ Samsung heir questioned in South Korea’s sensational bribery scandal ]
Now, as Samsung’s flagship electronics unit struggles to emerge from its embarrassing recall of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone last year, its leader has become embroiled in the scandal.

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