On Tuesday, February 28th, Lee Jae-yong, the head of Samsung, was indicted on bribery and embezzlement charges, making him the most prominent business tycoon to ever face trial in South Korea.
Before his indictment, there was already a 90-day investigation taking place over a corruption scandal. The investigation had already lead to the impeachment of South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye.
Lee is accused of giving or promising $38 million to the president’s friend Choi Soon-sil in order to receive political favors.
4 other senior executives of Samsung were also indicted on the same charges as Lee, but were not arrested. 3 of them have since resigned.
Samsung didn’t immediately comment on the indictment, but says they will try to clear Lee’s name in trial. South Korea has traditionally been lenient on tycoons committing white-collar crimes. Anticorruption advocates say Lee’s indictment and trial will test whether the system is finally going to improve.