After day in South Korea court, Samsung chief awaits arrest decision

Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:34am EST
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By Joyce Lee and Hyunjoo Jin

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee left a Seoul court after more than eight hours on Thursday to await a decision on whether he will be arrested over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that has engulfed President Park Geun-hye.

The 48-year-old Lee, wearing a dark coat and navy tie, kept his head down and did not answer reporters' questions as he left the Seoul Central District Court after the closed-door hearing, and headed to a detention centre pending a judge's ruling.

A decision may come late on Thursday or early Friday, based on previous instances. Last month, the same court rejected the special prosecutor's request that Lee be arrested.

"The basic relationship of the facts and the structure of the argument were not very different from the previous warrant," one of Lee's lawyers, Song Wu-cheol, told reporters outside the court.

"I believe the court will make a wise decision," he said.

The corruption scandal erupted late last year and has engulfed South Korea's political and business elite.

Park was impeached by parliament in December over accusations that she colluded with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back the president’s policy initiatives.

Park has been stripped of her powers while the Constitutional Court decides whether to uphold her impeachment. The court said on Thursday it planned to wrap up hearings in the case by Feb. 24.   Continued...

Samsung Group chief, Jay Y. Lee, arrives at the office of the independent counsel in Seoul, South Korea, February 16, 2017. Koo Yoon-sung/News1 via REUTERS