Samsung appears to be in deep trouble this morning, after 40 government investigators raided its key financial offices.
The raid follows allegations from a former top Samsung legal executive, Kim Yong-cheo, who this month said the conglomerate routinely bribed public officials to avoid investigations of its operations and kept a 200 billion won slush fund.
South Korean prosecutors have banned 14 Samsung executives from leaving the country after the country's president Roh Moo-hyun passed a National Assembly bill to launch an independent investigation of the company. That investigation begins on 6 January.
While Samsung denies the accusations, South Korean investigators haven't ruled out further raids.
The situation appears sufficiently dire that senior Samsung executive, chief customer officer Lee Jae-yong, has been forced to cancel a planned January meeting with Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
A high-ranking Samsung official said: "We had high expectations for the meeting with Steve Jobs because Samsung has just begun selling printers, a key driver for the group’s future, via Apple outlets in the US."
The legal troubles will also complicate the company's business - Samsung will be unable to finalize its business plans or engage in any managerial reshuffles until the investigation is complete, driving the Samsung Electronics CEO Yun Jong-yong to term the company as being in "an emergency situation".