South Korean prosecutors are taking a second go at gaining an arrest warrant for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the heir apparent to the Samsung Group.
Lee Kun-hee, the only son of Samsung’s incapacitated chairman, has been accused of using Samsung subsidiaries to make possible bribery-related payments of millions of dollars as part of a scandal involving South Korea’s impeached president Park Geun-hye and a confidante.
A previous request for an arrest warrant was made, which would have seen Kun-hee charged with bribery, embezzlement and perjury, although it was refused by the Seoul district court.
Now a second request is being made, based on more charges and apparently more evidence that has been gathered. Also named in the request is Park Sang-jin, Samsung’s president for corporate relations, who is being sought for bribery charges.
Lee Kun-hee is suspected of offering tens of millions of dollars in return for gaining support from a national pension fund in the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates to create a holding firm. The arrangement was crucial for allowing Kun-hee to inherit overall management control of the company.
His legal team has reportedly acknowledged that contributions were made to two nonprofit foundations controlled being investigated, but denies that any of these were “pay for play” deals designed to win favors. Lee was summoned by investigators on Monday and held for questioning which lasted more than 15 hours.
A Seoul court will determine how valid the arrest warrant request is on Thursday night or early Friday.