Samsung chief questioned behind closed doors in arrest warrant hearing

Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:15am EST
 
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By Ju-min Park and Se Young Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean judge questioned Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee behind closed doors on Wednesday to decide whether he should be arrested over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that led parliament to impeach President Park Geun-hye.

Lee, 48, in dark overcoat and purple necktie, did not answer questions from reporters as he left the Seoul Central District Court after the nearly four-hour hearing and headed by car to a detention center to await his fate.

One of the five attorneys representing Lee struck a positive tone, saying the legal team had argued its case sufficiently.

"We are confident the court will make a wise decision," attorney Song Wu-cheol told reporters.

The special prosecutor's office on Monday said it would seek a warrant to arrest the third-generation leader of the country's largest conglomerate on suspicion of bribery, embezzlement and perjury.

Lee, who has been the de facto leader of South Korea's biggest conglomerate since his father Lee Kun-hee was incapacitated by a 2014 heart attack, was questioned last week for 22 straight hours at the prosecutor's office in Seoul.

He has denied wrongdoing.

Park, 64, was impeached last month by parliament over the influence-peddling scandal, a decision that if upheld by the Constitutional Court will see her become the country's first democratically-elected leader forced from office early.   Continued...

 
Samsung Group chief, Jay Y. Lee, leaves after attending a court hearing to review a detention warrant request against him at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea, January 18, 2017.   REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji