South Korean prosecutors launch probe over lengthy paper trail on Samsung

South Korean prosecutors launched an investigation into documents purportedly written by the Park Geun Hye government relating to the leadership succession of Samsung.
South Korean prosecutors launched an investigation into documents purportedly written by the Park Geun Hye government relating to the leadership succession of Samsung. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - South Korean prosecutors said Monday (July 17) they have launched an investigation into documents purportedly written by the previous Park Geun Hye government regarding the leadership succession of Samsung in connection with the bribery scandal that removed Park from office.

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, led by the Moon Jae In administration, revealed last Friday (July 14) what it claimed to be a lengthy paper trail from its predecessor that possibly suggests backdoor support for a controversial merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 deemed vital to a smooth leadership transfer to Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae Yong.

The discovery of the documents immediately drew attention as both Park and Lee are detained and standing trial on bribery charges in relation to the merger approval.

The prosecution has accused Park of lending support to the deal in exchange for money from Lee.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said it received part of the documents from the independent counsel team in charge of the high-profile scandal and that it is planning to carry out a detailed analysis to verify the documents.

The presidential office said earlier that they handed over copies of the documents to the special probe team.

Following the authentication process, the prosecution is expected to decide whether they will submit any of them to the court as evidence against the former president and the Samsung scion.

There is also a possibility that the prosecution may use the documents as probable cause to further tie Woo Byung Woo - then presidential secretary for civil affairs who is at the centre of the scandal - to the case.

Woo is being investigated without detention over a string of charges including dereliction of duty in connection with the scandal.