Court issues arrest warrant for Samsung heir apparent Lee Jae-yong on bribery charges
Our top story this afternoon...
A local court has approved an arrest warrant for Samsung's billionaire heir apparent Lee Jae-yong in connection to the massive corruption scandal that has engulfed Korea in recent months.
It's the first time for the head of Korea's largest business group to be arrested in the conglomerate's almost 80 year history.
Let's cross straight over to our Hwang Hojun at the independent counsel office.
Hojun, give us the details...
Mark,... as the de-facto head of Korea's biggest business group,... this is a massive story at will have... as yet... untold repercussions on the probe itself... but also the Korean economy.
After an agonizing wait at the Seoul Detention Center, Samsung heir apparent Lee Jae-yong will now be arrested, as the Seoul Central District Court approved an arrest warrant requested by the independent counsel team.
This was the team's second request, which it filed on Tuesday.
The counsel expanded the charges, after some three weeks of additional investigation, against Lee to include diverting assets overseas and concealing the gains from a criminal act.
That's on top of the original charges of bribery, embezzlement and perjury the team filed against Lee with its first arrest warrant request that was rejected last month.
The court explained its changed stance via a text message to reporters, saying quote "the rationale for and the necessity of Lee's arrest is acknowledged considering the new charges and additional evidence collected."
The Korean tech giant is accused of giving money,... nearly 38 million dollars... to entities controlled by Choi, in exchange for support of a 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates, that was deemed critical to finalizing Lee's succession to the top of Samsung Group.
The control tower of the conglomerate, the Samsung Future Strategy Office said it will do its best to prepare for the trial so that the truth will come out.
Following the court's decision, Lee will stay at a detention center in Uiwang, south of Seoul, where he had been waiting for the ruling overnight.