It would appear that Samsung Electronics Ltd. chair Lee Jae-yong’s legal woes are not yet over.
According to Bloomberg the de facto head of Samsung, known professionally as Jay Y. Lee, was called in by special prosecutors on Monday morning alongside two other executives, including Samsung President Park Sang-jin, for questions regarding the alleged corruption charges swirling around the country’s impeached president, Park Geun-hye.
Lee said he would “earnestly” speak to prosecutors as he was led past reporters to the special prosecutor’s office in Seoul on Feb. 13, Bloomberg reporter Heesu Lee wrote, but no further details have been given.
A spokesperson told Bloomberg that depending on the information collected from Monday’s probe, prosecutors will decide whether to once again seek an arrest warrant for Lee before the end of this week.
The Samsung scion was under significant investigation regarding Park last month until prosecutors were denied a warrant to arrest him.
The son of company chair Lee Kun-hee, the younger Lee has officially served as Samsung’s vice chair and its de facto head since his father suffered a heart attack in 2014. He was accused by an independent investigation team for participating in payments that Samsung made to Choi Soon-sil, the presidential friend and advisor at the heart of Park’s impeachment scandal, in exchange for government support of a company merger that, according to the Korea Times, was designed for Lee to increase his stake in Samsung as a whole.
According to the Korea JoonAng Daily, Samsung pledged 22 billion won (approximately $24.39 million Canadian) to support the equestrian training of Choi’s daughter. It also contributed 1.6 billion won (approximately $1.77 million) to a winter sports training program established by Choi’s niece, and 20.4 billion won to a pair of Choi-affiliated nonprofit foundations.
The investigation team alleged that in return for the funds, the South Korean president’s office facilitated last year’s merger of Samsung C&T (Samsung’s parent company, which oversees international sales operations) and Samsung affiliate Cheil Industries by ordering the country’s National Pension Service, which held shares in both companies, to vote for the deal, according to the Korea Times. According to JoonAng Daily, the National Pension Service also happened to be the largest shareholder of Samsung C&T – and the deal was criticized as unfair for Samsung C&T.
During the investigation Samsung denied providing Choi and her associates with financial aid in return for favours, while Lee himself denied all charges, none of which have been proven in court.