Samsung's HQ raided

Prosecution investigation officers walk out with boxes carrying evidence seized at Samsung Electronics in Seoul, South Korea on Nov 8, 2016.
Prosecution investigation officers walk out with boxes carrying evidence seized at Samsung Electronics in Seoul, South Korea on Nov 8, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL • Samsung Electronics has been dragged into South Korea's presidential scandal.

Investigators raided its headquarters, the latest headache facing vice-chairman Jay Y. Lee as he tries to navigate a path out of its product recall crisis.

South Korean prosecutors entered the offices of Samsung as they searched for evidence that the smartphone maker illegally provided gifts for a confidante of President Park Geun Hye at the centre of an influence-peddling investigation. The company confirmed the raid and declined to comment further.

Local media had earlier reported, without citing anyone, that Samsung is suspected of providing 3.5 billion won (S$4.3 million) to a company owned by Ms Choi Soon Sil to fund equestrian training in Germany for her daughter.

The scandal is again raising questions about decades of cosy ties between the nation's big conglomerates and those in power.

Successive governments - including Ms Park's administration - have pledged to curb the influence of the companies, often family-run, known as chaebols.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2016, with the headline 'Samsung's HQ raided'. Print Edition | Subscribe