Police-summons-Hotel-Shilla-chief-Lee Boo-jin
Hotel Shilla CEO Lee Boo-jin was summoned by the police for the suspicions that she took propofol for non-medical purposes. Courtesy of Hotel Shilla

Samsung heiress investigated for suspected drug use

It took a full year for the police to summon Hotel Shilla CEO Lee Boo-jin to look into the suspicions that she took an addictive drug for non-medical purposes a few years ago.

The police said on March 30 that it had summoned the billionaire businesswoman on March 22 to investigate her for longer than 12 hours.

Observers expect that the police would make a conclusion on the case in about a month. It remains to be seen whether the police would book the eldest daughter of Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee.

Last March, a media outlet called News Tapa raised the allegations that Lee gained illegal access to a powerful anesthetic named propofol in 2016 at a cosmetic clinic located in southern Seoul.

The report prompted the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency to raid the clinic at issue three times and book related medical staff, including its physician.

However, the agency neither summoned Lee nor booked her for a year, saying that probes take a longer time than expected.

Lee has denied any wrongdoings with regard to the propofol scandal. The 50-year-old CEO claimed that she visited the Seoul clinic in question, but just for legitimate treatment.

The case gained fresh attention last month as News Tapa reported that Lee’s older brother, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, also took propofol. He is a de facto head of Samsung, the country’s No. 1 conglomerate, instead of bed-ridden Chairman Lee.

If the two allegations proved to be true, they would be subject to criminal charges as propofol was classified as a psychotropic drug in Korea in 2011.

As a result, it is illegal here to prescribe or consume the sedative-hypnotic agent for non-medical purposes.