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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 12: Lee Jae-Yong, vice chairman of Samsung arrives at the office of the independent counsel on January 12, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. The independent counsel team investigating the peddling scandal involving South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her confidant Choi Soon-sil summoned Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong for questioning on charges of perjury as he allegedly lied about the money Samsung donated to Choi through multiple channels in the parliamentary hearings last month. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

South Korea Prosecutors Seek Arrest Warrant For Samsung Boss Over Bribery Scandal

Special prosecutors have requested an arrest warrant for Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong, who faces bribery, embezzlement, and perjury charges over his role in Korean presidential scandal that is gripping the nation.
The request follows their quizzing of him on Friday, which lasted over 22 hours, over whether Samsung knowingly paid Choi Soon-shil, a close friend to President Park Geun-hye, bribes to have a controversial merger of its affiliates approved.
The court will now decide on Wednesday after interviewing Lee whether to approve the warrant.
The de facto boss of the entire Samsung Group also faces perjury charges for lying under oath at a committee hearing last month where he denied knowing Choi personally.
Investigators believe the Vice chairman knew about her existence way before the date he admitted to.
Representatives of Samsung have called for the investigations to proceed without jailing Lee as it will negatively impact their business and the nation’s economy.
But Lee Kyu-chul, spokesman for the special prosecution, said the national economy is important, but “justice” is more so.
Investigators believe Lee was involved in around $40 million in bribes that the conglomerate paid to Choi via Samsung Electronics.
The vice chairman has been leading the Samsung conglomerate since his father, chairman Lee Kun-hee, was hospitalized in 2014 after a heart attack.
He was named inside director of Samsung Electronics last year and has been deeply involved in the operations of the firm.
The warrant for Lee is likely a signal that the special prosecution plans to aggressively widen its investigations to other conglomerates, especially SK and Lotte, who are also facing allegations of bribing Choi for favors.

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