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The Samsung Crisis And The South Korean Economy

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Lee Jae-yong

Lee Jae-yong, center, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., arrives at the office of the independent counsel in Seoul, South Korea on Feb. 22, 2017. Lee was later indicted on bribery charges. A survey by the anti-graft group Transparency International shows that bribery and other forms of corruption are hindering poverty alleviation and hurting public health by channeling resources away from those who need them. The survey, released Tuesday, March 7, 2017, estimated that more than 900 million people in the region had paid bribes in the past year to obtain basic public services like schooling and health care. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

South Korea’s Samsung Group is embroiled in controversy after its de facto leader Lee Jae-yong was arrested and indicted on bribery charges.

Lee’s arrest and indictment was a first for South Korea, a country that has seen at least six of their top ten leaders of family-run conglomerates like the Samsung Group charged with white-collar crimes but never convicted. They have all been pardoned or let off with slaps on the wrist as the government emphasizes the need for economic stability. 

With Lee behind bars, South Koreans wonder how it will impact Asia’s fourth largest economy. To learn more about the Samsung crisis we turn to Jaesok Son, a senior research analyst for the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. He also serves as an overseas advisory member of the Korean General Social Survey. 

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