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Samsung heir detained, awaiting court decision

Lee Jae-yong, heir apparent of Samsung Group and vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., is awaiting a court decision in a detention facility in Seoul after a four-hour court hearing on his arrest warrant, The Korea Herald reported Jan. 18.

He is reportedly set to remain detained at the facility until a decision has been made, determining whether the de facto chief of the South Korean conglomerate will be arrested and placed behind bars for his role in the influence-peddling scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil, the report said.

Lee was questioned earlier this month by the country's special prosecutors as part of the widening investigation into the scandal, which led to the impeachment of President Park.

According to the report, Lee is suspected of offering bribes amounting to 43 billion South Korean won to President Park's longtime friend Choi in order to secure the administration's support of a merger between two Samsung affiliates.

In November 2016, prosecutors raided Samsung's headquarters and the National Pension Service's offices, as the agency is also being investigated for reportedly approving the $8 billion merger of Samsung affiliates Samsung C&T Corp. and Cheil Industries Inc. in 2015.

As of Jan. 17, US$1 was equal to 1,164.23 South Korean won.