South Korean prosecutors independently investigating the scandal involving impeached President Park Geun-hye are forecast to seek an arrest warrant this week for the heir apparent of Samsung Group, the country’s biggest family-controlled conglomerate, local media reported Monday.
Local newspaper Hankyoreh reported that the independent counsel planned to call on a court around Wednesday to issue an arrest warrant for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong. No specific source was identified in the report.
Vice Chairman Lee was summoned earlier in the day by the special prosecutors, which tried in vain to detain the Samsung heir for bribery charges last month.
If the arrest warrant is requested on Wednesday, a Seoul court will be required to determine its validity on Friday. Last month’s request was rejected by the court, causing harsh criticism from the public.
During the past three weeks, the special prosecutors investigated the case further to collect more testimonies and evidences. Investigators raided the country’s anti-trust body and financial regulator last week.
Lee is suspected of offering tens of millions of U.S. dollars to President Park’s longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil in return for getting support in the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates to create a de-facto holding company.
The impeached leader has also been identified as an accomplice to Choi.
The merger is extremely crucial to the vice chairman, who has actually managed the conglomerate since his ailing father Chairman Lee Kun-hee was hospitalized about three years ago, to inherit the management control.
The de-facto holding company is not allowed to control Samsung’s financial affiliates as local law bans industrial companies from controlling financial institutions.
The special prosecutors are reportedly investigating into whether Samsung exercised influence over the revision of law on the financial holding company that will allow the industrial capital’s control of financial companies.
The special investigation has been centered on bribery charges among the Samsung heir, the impeached leader and the leader’s decades-long friend.
Spokesman of the special prosecutors told a press briefing that probes into other conglomerates will be launched after deciding whether to seek arrest warrants for Samsung officials.
Two more Samsung executives were also called in by the independent counsel Monday for questioning. Enditem