S Korean investigators seek arrest of Samsung’s Lee

Lee Jae-yong (C), vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, arrives to be questioned as a suspect in a corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-Hye, at the office of the independent counsel in Seoul on February 13, 2017.  REUTERS/Jung Yeon-Je/Pool



South Korean prosecutors are attempting for a second time to arrest Samsung’s de facto leader, who faces bribery allegations in connection with a massive political scandal.
Special prosecutors investigating the influence-peddling scandal that led to the impeachment of the president said on Tuesday they have asked a court to issue an arrest warrant for Lee Jae-yong, the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics. They also are seeking an arrest warrant for Samsung Electronics president Park Sang-jin, who oversees the company’s external relations.
Seoul Central District Court said it will hold a hearing on Thursday to review the arrest request.
This is the second attempt by prosecutors to arrest Lee, the heir to the Samsung Group. Last month, a court said there was not enough evidence to justify Lee’s arrest at that point.
The prosecutors argued that the 48-year-old billionaire offered a bribe of $36 million to President Park Geun-hye and her long-time friend to win government backing for a controversial merger.
The merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries in 2015 was opposed by minority shareholders, who said it would benefit the Samsung founding family while hurting other shareholders. Samsung narrowly secured shareholder approval, thanks in part to support from the National Pension Fund, its key investor. The pension fund’s current chief was arrested last year on suspicion of pressuring the fund to back the merger, which helped Lee increase his influence in Samsung Electronics without spending any of his money.

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