Court approves arrest of Samsung heir

Employees walk past a logo of Samsung Group at its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday. (AP)
Updated 17 February 2017
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Court approves arrest of Samsung heir

SEOUL: A South Korean court approved on Friday the arrest of a billionaire heir to Samsung accused of bribery and other charges in connection to a massive corruption scandal, a stunning decline for the princeling of South Korea’s richest family.
The Seoul Central District Court’s decision to issue a warrant to arrest Lee Jae-yong, 48, a vice chairman at Samsung Electronics and the only son of Samsung chair Lee Kun-hee.
The arrest of Samsung’s de facto leader will likely shock the business community and cheer the critics of chaebol, the South Korean family-controlled business conglomerates that dominate the economy.
It was seen as a test of the country’s judicial system that in the past had been lenient toward the powerful business elite families at chaebol for their white-collar crimes, citing their contributions to the national economy.
The court said additional evidence showed there were enough reasons to take Lee into custody. Prosecutors can detain him for up to 20 days before formally indicting him.
The court dismissed prosecutors’ request to arrest Park Sang-jin, a president at Samsung Electronics overseeing external relations, saying that it was difficult to justify Park’s arrest given his position and role within the company.
Lee was waiting for the decision at a detention center near Seoul overnight after a closed-door court hearing that lasted more than seven hours on Thursday. He was taken into custody while Park was released. Local media reported that Lee was sent to solitary confinement. The detention center declined to comment, saying it cannot give out private details.
Samsung said it will continue to defend itself in court.
“We will do our best to ensure that the truth is revealed in future court proceedings,” it said in a statement.
Lee avoided arrest last month when the court said prosecutors did not have enough evidence. The special prosecution team, probing the influence-peddling scandal that led to the impeachment of the country’s president, said they had gathered more evidence to strengthen their case and made a second request.
Prosecutors accused Lee of giving bribes worth $36 million to President Park Geun-hye and her close friend Choi Soon-sil to win government favors for a smooth company leadership transition. They are also investigating Lee on allegations of embezzlement of Samsung funds, hiding assets overseas and lying under oath during a parliamentary hearing.
The court decision could also help the prosecution team bring bribery charges against President Park Geun-hye whose powers were suspended in December by Parliament.
The special prosecution office is also reportedly looking into whether the value of Samsung Biologics, which went public last year, was overpriced to benefit the Samsung founding family and also whether the fair trade commission gave any favors to Samsung in relation to its complex cross shareholding structure, which allows the Lee family to control the sprawling businesses with only a minority stake.


Saudi Arabia’s pensions rank alongside US And Hong Kong

Updated 22 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s pensions rank alongside US And Hong Kong

  • Ageing population will create pressures on system
  • Government introducing reforms in pension sector

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s pension system has been given a similar rating to those granted to the US and Hong Kong, according to the results of a global pension index.
It is the first time the country has been included in the index compiled by the US consultancy firm Mercer.
The inclusion will likely be welcomed by those in the Kingdom pushing through reforms to Saudi Arabia’s pension provisions.
In March, the government launched the PPA (Public Pension Agency) Strategy 2022 which set out government plans to ramp up the Kingdom’s capabilities in risk management, investing and asset distribution. It also aimed to improve both training for its staff and the way services are provided to the country’s pensioners.
The Melbourne Mercer Global Pensions Index ranks 34 countries against a series of criteria, such as the sustainability of pension systems. It has been published every year for the last decade.
Saudi Arabia’s pension scheme ranked highly in the index due to high net household saving rates, significant investments in growth assets and the provision of regular monthly income to pensioners rather than lump-sums, the survey found.
However the country’s ageing population and the impact of lower oil prices on government finances is likely to increase pressure on pensions in the future, the survey said.
The index called for the Kingdom to improve the minimum level of support for the poorest people in Saudi Arabia as well as to increase the proportion of older people remaining in the workforce.
Encouraging people to keep working will counter the impact of the increasing life expectancy on government finances, the consultancy said.

“The changing dynamics of the region, lower oil prices, rapidly growing and ageing population will pose challenges to the country’s fiscal and macroeconomic stability, thereby impacting the pension systems,” said Mazen Abukhater, head of retirement, Mercer, Middle East.
“The government is taking practical measures towards reforming the pension schemes, enhancing investments and diversifying to raise the revenues within an effective and flexible framework of risk management and transparency. This will make future pension systems more sustainable over the longer term,” he said.
Countries that ranked highly this year included those in Scandinavia, with Denmark scoring an overall mark of 80.2 out of 100. At the other end of the scale, Argentina scored just 39.2 out of 100.