Samsung heir grilled by prosecutors in Park Geun Hye scandal

Samsung Group leader Jay Y Lee arrived at the South Korean special prosecutor's office for questioning over bribery suspicions as part of a widening influence-peddling scandal that may permanently unseat President Park Geun Hye.
Samsung heir Lee Jae Yong was questioned by South Korean prosecutors on Thursday (Jan 12) over allegations of bribery.
Samsung heir Lee Jae Yong was questioned by South Korean prosecutors on Thursday (Jan 12) over allegations of bribery.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SEOUL • Samsung heir Lee Jae Yong was grilled by South Korean prosecutors yesterday after becoming a criminal suspect in the corruption scandal engulfing impeached President Park Geun Hye.

Mr Lee, vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics and the son of Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun Hee, was being questioned over allegations of bribery, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

He was also accused of committing perjury during a parliamentary hearing last month into the matter, they said.

"I am sorry for causing concern among the people over this incident," the younger Mr Lee said as he arrived at the office of the special prosecutor investigating the case.

Mr Lee and his lawyer were surrounded by scores of journalists as well as dozens of protesters waving banners and chanting "arrest Lee immediately" and calling him a "co-culprit" in the scandal.

Prosecutor's office spokesman Lee Kyu Chul said they would decide whether to seek a court warrant to arrest him formally when his questioning is completed.

Prosecutors have for months questioned Mr Lee and senior Samsung officials to determine if Samsung bribed Ms Park and her confidante Choi Soon Sil to win state approval for a controversial merger it sought in 2015.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'Samsung heir grilled by prosecutors in Park scandal'. Print Edition | Subscribe