Samsung chief questioned by prosecutors in South Korea political scandal

Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:44am EST
 
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By Se Young Lee and Ju-min Park

SEOUL (Reuters) - Special South Korean prosecutors questioned the head of top conglomerate Samsung Group [SAGR.UL] on suspicion of bribery on Thursday in an influence-peddling scandal that led to President Park Geun-hye's impeachment.

Park remains in office but has been stripped of her powers while the Constitutional Court decides whether to uphold the December impeachment and make her the first democratically elected leader to be forced from office.

Park has denied wrongdoing.

"I am very sorry to the South Korean people for not showing a better side," Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee told reporters as he arrived at the prosecution office in a black sedan, greeted by protesters holding signs calling for his arrest and accusing him of being the president's accomplice.

Investigators would now decide whether to seek an arrest warrant against Lee, 48, special prosecution spokesman Lee Kyu-chul told reporters.

Parliament impeached Park over allegations she allowed a friend, Choi Soon-sil, to exert inappropriate influence over state affairs.

Choi is accused of colluding with Park to pressure big businesses, including the Samsung Group, to contribute to non-profit foundations backing the president's initiatives.

Choi, in detention and on trial on charges of abuse of power and attempted fraud, has denied wrongdoing.   Continued...

 
Jay Y. Lee, center, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, arrives to be questioned as a suspect in bribery case in the influence-peddling scandal that led to the president's impeachment at the office of the independent counsel in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. REUTERS/Ahn Young-joon