Samsung Faces a Rough Patch with Arrest Request, Recalls

A request by South Korean prosecutors to arrest Lee Jae-yong, the 48-year-old vice chairman and de facto leader of Samsung Electronics, has added to the troubles for the country's most valuable company after a spate of recalls last year.

Lee faces allegations he offered $36 million in bribes to a friend of President Park Geun-hye, who has been impeached. Prosecutors say they also suspect him of embezzlement and lying under oath. A Seoul court will review the request for his arrest Wednesday and will likely decide on it within this week.

Here is what you need to know about the entanglement of the world's largest smartphone maker in the scandal:

Samsung's Link to the Scandal

Samsung is alleged to have made substantial donations to nonprofit foundations controlled by Choi Soon-sil, a confidante of Park's who has been jailed and is on trial for allegedly using her connections with the president to extort money and favors from companies and unlawfully interfere with government affairs.

South Korean prosecutors say the company agreed to pay more than $18 million to a company Choi set up to finance equestrian training of her daughter in Germany. It also helped pay for a winter sports center run by Choi's niece. Of four Samsung executives prosecutors have questioned Lee is the only one they have asked to arrest. The prosecutors say they plan to summon Park for questioning as a possible suspect.

The company has said it never made donations to win favors.

Leadership Succession

Since Lee Jae-yong's father suffered a heart attack in May 2014, the company has been trying to accelerate a leadership succession from the 72-year-old father to his son.

The younger Lee has held various executive positions at Samsung Electronics but owned less than a 1 percent stake in the company in 2014. Inheriting his father's 3-percent stake would cost him billions...

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