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Samsung chief indicted on tax evasion charges

Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-Hee was indicted on charges of evading taxes and breach of trust, but was cleared of more serious bribery charges, according to news reports.

Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-Hee was indicted on charges of evading taxes on billions of dollars he hid in stock accounts under the names of his aides, The New York Times is reporting.

Lee Kun-Hee
Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-Hee Samsung

He also faces criminal charges of breach of trust, stemming from his involvement in arranging for company subsidiaries "to sell stock to his son" at "unfairly low prices" to help his son "take over management control," The Times says. Lee was cleared, however, of more serious allegations he starting a slush fund worth $215 million used to bribe prosecutors, judges, and other public officials.

Nine other Samsung executives were indicted on charges similar to Lee's, but none were arrested. Lee wasn't arrested either.

Still, the charges aren't good for the image of South Korea's largest company. Samsung operates in many industries, but is primarily known for its electronics. The company is one of the largest television manufacturers in the world, and is also a leading handset maker.

Lee thus far has maintained his title, however Samsung is planning a related restructuring, the details of which will be disclosed next week, according to The Wall Street Journal.