The Danger of Samsung Tanking Korea's Economy if their Chief Goes to Jail Weighs Heavily on Special Prosecution
On January 11 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Samsung Heir Identified as Suspect in Bribery Case." The de facto head of the Samsung Group was summoned to appear at 9:30 a.m. in Seoul on Thursday, special prosecution spokesman Lee Kyu-chul said in a briefing. While Lee, 48, was widely expected to be called in for questioning, the fact that he was identified as a suspect was a surprise. Today we're leaning that the special investigators have delayed a decision to seek an arrest warrant for Samsung's Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong by a day because of politics.
Today's Korean report noted that "The special counsel team led by Park Young-soo has been facing mixed calls on Lee. Some liberal politicians urged investigators not to give favors to conglomerate owners, while others demanded they not be harsh on business leaders, pointing out Samsung's influence in South Korean economy.
Another official was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as saying "We have done the investigation fully. Only the final decision is left to be made, but we are gauging various factors." If the court approves investigators' request to arrest Lee, Samsung Group is feared to face a massive leadership vacuum. Not only its restructuring efforts, but also its merger and acquisition drive will all be tied down, putting Samsung's long-term plans at risk.
Is this insane that the law could be sidestepped because Samsung is too big to fail? Sounds like the very question that surfaced during the U.S. banking crisis. Did the big bank executives go to jail? Yes and no. Even though the news didn't get the headlines that it should have, 35 bankers did in fact go to jail to smash the myth that no bankers went to jail.
However, the really big bank executives at the top US banks got away with only paying massive fines in the billions. Yes, there are those that are too big to fail in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe.
Something tells me that Samsung's Lee won't be seeing the inside of a jail cell because he's untouchable in South Korea. A huge fine will likely be handed down and Lee will make all kinds of humble statements and then life will go on. Sorry, but I truly believe this is going to be the outcome this week.
In Lee's testimony this week before the special counsel team he reportedly said that Samsung was forced by President Park Geun-hye to offer financial support to Choi Soon-sil, a key figure in the corruption scandal that has been rocking the nation.
The Samsung heir apparent made the confession during an interrogation session Thursday, in which he was questioned for about 22 hours.
His recent claim differs from what he said during a parliamentary hearing in December last year. Samsung's de facto leader said at the time he and President Park only discussed matters related to the conglomerate and its investment plans in a meeting.
"Those who lie at a parliamentary hearing can face a charge of perjury," the official added. But once again, it's like Hillary Clinton who lied in Congressional hearings and she's yet to face the music. Too big to fail? We all know it exists, it's just when it's in your face you can't believe that this elitist favoritism still exists. And you wonder why the public is jaded when it comes to politics, government and elections? Ha.
While I'm sure that Apple die-hard fans want to see Lee get the book thrown at him for a million reasons – it's likely not to happen. We're bound to hear a simple judgement handed down, a huge fine handed out, a little hand slapping and then we'll collectively shake our heads and the world will keep on turning so that South Korea's economy isn't rocked. End of story.