Samsung boss Lee Jae-yong has been arrested by police overnight over his role in corruption allegations, but the the mobile phone behemoth promises the truth will be revealed if Lee’s case goes to court.
The news caps a torrid time for the world’s largest manufacturer of smart phones and South Korea’s biggest company, after the disastrous roll out of its Galaxy Note 7 last year.
Jail officials told Reuters that 48-year-old Lee was formally arrested and has been taken into custody by authorities after waiting there overnight South Korean time following discussions with police.
Lee is suspected of involvement in a paying-for-influence scandal that led to the demise of South Korean President Park Geun-hye in December.
The Samsung boss is accused of paying 43bn won (£30.2m) in bribes Choi Soon-sil, a friend of the president in addition to embezzlement and perjury.
Geun-hye was impeached by parliament and is waiting to see if the move will be upheld by law courts – if so she will be South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office.
Samsung said in a statement following Lee’s arrest:
We will do our best to ensure the truth is revealed in future court proceedings.
Prosecutors have 10 days to charge Lee, though they can apply for an extension, and under South Korean law, a court would need to make a ruling within three months.
Samsung and Lee have denied the allegations.
But a Samsung spokesperson said no decision had been made on whether Lee’s arrested would be challenged or whether bail would be sought.