South Korean special prosecutors requested an arrest warrant for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on January 16 in relation with the so-called “Choi Soon-sil Gate.”
In response, South Korean entrepreneurs voiced concerns, saying, “The special prosecutors are regarding Samsung’s 20.4 billion won (US$16.9 million) contributions to the MIR and K-Sports Foundations as bribes but, if so, the majority of South Korean conglomerates cannot but be their targets.”
The Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) and the Korea Employers Federation (KEF) asked the court to make a prudent decision in determining whether to issue the arrest warrant on January 18. “Samsung Electronics is one of the companies representing South Korea and the arrest of the vice chairman is likely to result in severe repercussions on the entire South Korean economy,” the KCCI explained. The KEF echoed by saying, “The arrest should be put on hold until hard evidence comes out.”
Associations of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) added to the request as well. “An investigation of entrepreneurs affects not only companies but also the entire society and, as such, the special prosecutors should conduct their investigation with promptness and limit the scope of their probe to the minimum,” said the Korea Federation of SMEs.