Lee faces formal charges of bribery, perjury, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, and concealing profit from criminal acts. A spokesperson for Samsung says no decision has been made on whether Lee's arrest will be contested or if there is a plan to seek bail. The vice-chairman of Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, was questioned last month by investigators who are seeking evidence that he paid bribes to Choi Soon-sil.
Grandson of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul, Lee Jae-yong is now acting vice-chairman of the group after his father suffered a heart-attack in 2014.
The case involves whether or not millions of dollars in payments from Samsung to businesses and foundations run by an associate of the President's - Choi Soon-sil - constituted a bribe, and if Lee had any personal dealings with the contributions. The four Samsung executives have identified as part of the scandal are Samsung Group Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung, President Chang Choong-ki and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd President Park Sang-jin and Executive Vice President Hwang Sung-soo. Three top executives at South Korea's biggest conglomerate Samsung stepped down today after they were indicted on charges including bribery and embezzlement.
Assistant independent counsel Lee Kyu-chul, right, wraps up the last press briefing in the independent counsel team's office in Daechi-dong, southern Seoul, on Tuesday as the mandate for the special prosecutors' investigation expired.
Vice Chairman Lee is suspected of paying tens of millions of U.S. dollars in bribes to Choi in exchange for getting support in the controversial merger in 2015 of two Samsung affiliates to create a de-facto holding company.
The entire Samsung Group includes electronics, shipbuilding and insurance units and has combined revenues equivalent to about one-fifth of South Korea's gross domestic product.
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"The indictment describes in detail the private conversation between Jay Y. Lee and President Park Geun-hye".
No trial dates have been set, but South Korea is known for doling out light sentences to business leaders.
Nineteen indictments are expected, including those against five Samsung executives.
Jay Y. Lee was not among the resignations, suggesting he will keep his position and board membership at Samsung during the court proceedings.
When the Park scandal first hit Samsung, the company had promised that it would disband its secretive Corporate Strategy Office, a panel of close Lee family aides who worked to help ensure the father to son leadership transition.
Lee's father, Lee Kun-hee, has received a special pardon by a former South Korean president who hoped that the pardon would help South Korea's bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.