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South Korea won’t arrest Samsung heir on bribery charges

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Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-Yong Arrives At Court Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Samsung’s vice-chairman and presumed future leader won’t face arrest for suspicion of bribery, embezzlement, and perjury.

According to Reuters, a South Korean court declined today to grant an arrest warrant for Lee Jae-yong, who’s also known as Jay Y. Lee, following requests by prosecutors earlier this week.

“We appreciate the fact that the merits of this case can now be determined without the need for detention,” a Samsung spokesperson said in a statement.

Prosecutors had said that Lee was part of a strange corruption scandal involving the country’s president, Park Geun-hye. Park was impeached last month after the country learned that she was being influenced by the daughter of a cult-like religious leader named Choi Soon-sil, who was given access to sensitive information and seemingly had some control over policy, despite not holding any government position.

Samsung gave around $36 million to entities linked to Choi, according to The Wall Street Journal. Those payments are alleged to have been in exchange for swaying Park, the president, in favor of a 2015 merger between two major Samsung entities, which had the effect of consolidating Lee’s holdings and power.

Update January 18th, 4:59PM ET: This story has been updated with comment from Samsung.