Just three days after questioning Samsung Group’s top brass, the independent counsel investigating the President Park Geun-hye scandal summoned the de facto leader of the country’s largest conglomerate, Lee Jae-yong, as a suspect for bribery charges, according to the special investigator’s office Wednesday.
Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, will appear at the investigators’ office at 9:30 a.m. Thursday and face questions regarding possible bribery charges.
The special investigation team Wednesday also requested the National Assembly’s special investigative committee to sue Lee for giving a false testimony at a parliamentary hearing last month, during which the tycoon denied most of the allegations raised against the company and him.
The investigators aim to prove the nature of the relationship between Samsung and Choi Soon-sil -- President Park’s confidante who is at the center of the scandal -- and whether there were any political favors in exchange for supporting foundations run by Choi and a merger of two of the group’s affiliates in 2015.
After completing the investigation, the team led by Park Young-soo will decide whether it is appropriate to arrest Lee as well as two Samsung executives, Choi Gee-sung, head of Samsung Group’s control tower Future Strategy Office, and deputy head Chang Choong-ki, both of whom were summoned Monday.
Samsung claims the financial contributions to the foundations controlled by Choi were made involuntarily due to pressure from President Park and were not exchanged for any political favors.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)