Samsung heir, other top executives, indicted on corruption allegations ars_ab.settitle(1050091)

Lee Jae-Yong vice chairman of Samsung Electronics was arrested earlier this month on bribery and other chargesMore

Lee, the spokesman, said the case against President Park would be handed over to regular prosecutors with Park remaining a suspect, while signalling other conglomerates may also become involved in the investigation.

"Jay Y. Lee's main role was largely limited to a few things, such as building a good image of Samsung as the owner of the conglomerate, establishing solid network with his global counterparts and calling the final shots when cutting big acquisition deals in new growth areas", CEOSCORE'S Park said. Jay Y. Lee may only be Samsung's vice chairman by name, ever since his father's heart attack in 2014, he ran the Korean technology giant as its leader.

In return, Lee allegedly sought government approval for the contentious $8bn merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 - a move that would smooth his path to the top of the entire Samsung group. Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung, who was indicted alongside Lee, and other executives at the strategy office are stepping down, with affiliates to be managed by their respective boards and CEOs instead.

In the meantime, the special prosecutor's probe into Park's former aide Woo Byung-woo still remains unresolved, though it is ready to be handed over to state prosecutors as from February 28. Three of them resigned on Tuesday following the announcement.

Following massive street rallies amid South Korea's biggest political corruption scandal, President Park approved the launch of independent counsel Park Young-soo's team last December before she was suspended of powers.

Nineteen indictments are expected, including those against five Samsung executives.

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The moves come as the country's Constitutional Court deliberates on whether to formally end Park's rule and trigger an early election to choose her successor.

Samsung also takes a special place in South Korea, where citizens sometimes call the nation the "Republic of Samsung" due to its widespread influence in everything from exports and jobs to health care, academics and more.

FILE - In this January 18, 2017, file photo, Lee Jae-yong, front, a vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co. arrives for the hearing at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea.

Lee was said to have used the group to wield control over Samsung's various holdings and coordinate efforts, including government lobbying.

Bloomberg reported that in response, the Samsung has announced the dismantling of its Corporate Strategy Office which is a high-level decision making unit for the company, and has been linked to the current investigation. He was later convicted and then pardoned by a former president.

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