February 28, 2017 / 6:49 AM / 10 months ago

Samsung Group says dismantling corporate strategy office

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s Samsung Group on Tuesday said it has dismantled its corporate strategy office, the nerve centre of operations for the sprawling conglomerate, following its chief’s arrest amid a graft scandal that could bring down President Park Geun-hye.

A journalist walks at the Samsung booth during a media preview day at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin, September 5, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

Samsung, in a statement, said top group executives including Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung and President Chang Choong-ki had resigned and that its affiliates would manage themselves independently through cooperation between individual firms’ chief executives and the boards of directors.

Jay Y. Lee, third-generation leader of Samsung Group, promised in December to dismantle the corporate strategy office amid accusations that he and the office worked to bribe President Park and her confidant, Choi Soon-sil, to curry favour and cement his control of the smartphones-to-biopharmaceuticals business empire.

The 48-year-old Samsung chief, arrested on Feb. 17, and four other Samsung executives will be charged with bribery and embezzlement.

Lee is accused of pledging 43 billion won ($38 million) in bribes to a company and foundations controlled by Choi. He denies wrongdoing.

($1 = 1,130 won)

Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Nick Macfie

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