The Wall Street Journal: Samsung’s de-facto leader Lee Jae-Yong charged with bribery

SEOUL — South Korean prosecutors indicted Samsung’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong on charges of bribery and four other offenses, setting in motion legal proceedings that could put the tycoon behind bars for years.

The 48-year-old vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co. 005930, +1.00%   was arrested Feb. 17 but prosecutors didn’t press formal charges until their Tuesday deadline. In addition to bribery, prosecutors accuse Lee of embezzlement, perjury, hiding assets abroad and concealing profit gained from criminal acts. Four other Samsung executives were indicted on the same charges except for perjury.

Lee is at the center of the investigation into a scandal that has rocked South Korea’s political and corporate establishments and led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. The country’s Constitutional Court is expected to decide within weeks whether to remove her from office.

Prosecutors have spent months building a case against Lee in connection with about $37 million in payments made by Samsung to entities allegedly controlled by a friend of Park. Prosecutors allege the payments were made in exchange for government backing of a contentious merger of two Samsung affiliates that consolidated Lee’s control of Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone maker. Lee has denied wrongdoing, as have Park and her friend, Choi Soon-sil. Samsung acknowledges the payments but denies they were for political gain. Lee told prosecutors he felt coerced by Park into making payments, investigators have said.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com

Samsung’s new ‘Galaxy Book’ tablet takes on laptops

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Samsung unveiled two new tablets at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Galaxy Tab S3 and the more powerful Galaxy Book, a device aimed at people looking to replace their laptops.

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