In South Korea, it's all in the family.
South Korean officials on Friday arrested Lee Jae-yong, the vice chairman of Samsung and the scion of an immensely wealthy and powerful family. Mr. Lee — known as Jay Y. Lee in the West — was accused of paying bribes to a confidante of South Korea's embattled president. Samsung has defended Mr. Lee, and it said on Friday that it would work to ensure "that the truth is revealed."
Mr. Lee has been widely considered Samsung's de facto leader since his father, Lee Kun-hee, Samsung's 75-year-old chairman, had a heart attack in 2014. That put the younger Mr. Lee at the helm of a sprawling business empire that encompasses gadgets, appliances, engineering, construction, shipbuilding, insurance and credit cards. Samsung Electronics — the maker of televisions and smartphones used around the world, including the doomed Galaxy Note 7 smartphone — by itself accounts for one-fifth of South Korea's exports.
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Samsung is only one of a handful of family-controlled companies, called chaebol, that dominate economic life in South Korea. Some, like Hyundai, land Samsung, are well known outside their home country. But domestically, they all wield immense power — and are coming under increasing scrutiny.