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Samsung to restructure top management after heir’s indictment

IANS | Seoul |

South Korean technology conglomerate Samsung announced on Tuesday that it will restructure its board of directors, after prosecutors decided to indict the firm's heir Lee Jae-yong in connection with an influence-peddling scandal.

The country's largest business group announced the move in a statement issued shortly after it was reported that Lee will be tried along with four other senior company executives for bribery, as part of the influence-peddling scandal that has rocked the country, Efe news reported.

The statement added it will dismantle its future strategy office, the hub of the group's operations, and that each of its affiliate firms will act according to orders by their respective boards.

The office was led by Samsung Group Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung and President Chang Choong-ki, who resigned from their positions in the working group that also included 200 other high-ranking executives from Samsung subsidiaries.

The tech giant also expects a personnel reshuffle of top executives for each affiliate's board of directors, company officials told Yonhap news agency.

Samsung's future strategy office was considered to be at the heart of the operations of the group, which besides Samsung Electronics – the world's leading smartphone maker – comprises subsidiaries across real estate, finance, sanitary services, power and electronic accessories sectors.

Prosecutors suspect that Lee, 48, gave or promised some 43 billion won ($36 million) worth of bribes to President Park Geun-hye's jailed friend Choi Soon-sil in return for the government's backing of a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015.

The business merger was seen as critical for the smooth management succession of the group from ailing Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee to his only son Lee.

The investigation team, led by Park Young-soo, was given 70 days with 20 more days for preparation to look into the allegations President Park let Choi meddle in state affairs and amass profits using her ties to the president.

Lee was formally arrested by the investigators earlier this month, marking the first time that the chief of the country's largest family-run business group has been detained.