South Korea: Prosecutors Seek Arrest Warrant for Head of Samsung
South Korean prosecutors sought a warrant Monday to arrest Samsung Group leader Lee Jae-yong in a bribery case linked to last month’s impeachment of the country’s President Park Geun-hye, state media reports.
Investigators are accusing Lee — who was interrogated for 22 hours last week — of paying 43 billion won (US$ 36.42 million) in bribes to organizations linked to the president’s friend Choi Soon-sil to secure the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates and solidify his control of the business.
Lee confirmed at a previous hearing in December that the family-owned business conglomerate sponsored the equestrian career of Choi’s daughter Chung Yoo-ra, including the purchases of horses and training.
According to the prosecution’s application for an arrest warrant, Lee is also accused of embezzlement and perjury, media reported.
A judge at the Seoul Central District Court will decide on Wednesday whether to grant the arrest warrant. A court official told Reuters that Lee and his lawyer would attend the hearing.
Samsung, which controlled a staggering 17 percent of South Korea’s GDP in 2012, denied that Lee paid any bribes, according to Reuters.
South Korea’s parliament voted overwhelmingly on Dec. 9 to impeach President Park, giving the power of the president to Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn. The country’s Constitutional Court was given 180 days to review the impeachment.