Prosecutors are seeking an arrest warrant against Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Electronics vice chairman and the de facto leader of the Samsung Group Conglomerate, so as to have him detained while they investigate fresh allegations against him.
Lee is accused of accounting fraud that was allegedly committed during the merger of two Samsung companies, Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T, with an aim of helping him gain more power.
Lee attended hearings in Seoul this week and is awaiting a decision on whether he will be rearrested. Courts can order detention of up to 20 days before the prosecutors are required to file charges, at which point a suspect can be detained for six months more.
If the prosecutor’s request is denied, this will still not be the end of his legal troubles. This is not an unfamiliar process for Lee as he spent about a whole year in jail following his arrest in February 2017 followed by a guilty ruling for his involvement in the seismic corruption scandal which took down South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye. He was released on appeal and has a pending retrial.