South Korean Prosecutor Again Seeks to Arrest Samsung’s Lee

  • First warrant request was rejected on a lack of evidence
  • Samsung heir-apparent linked to Korean political scandal

A South Korean special prosecutor is again seeking to arrest Samsung Group’s Jay Y. Lee in relation to allegations of bribery, dealing another blow to a business empire mired in a nationwide political corruption scandal.

Prosecutors said Tuesday they want Lee taken into custody, after a first attempt in January was rejected by a court due to a lack of evidence. Samsung declined to comment.

Korea’s biggest corporation and its billionaire heir-apparent lie at the center of an investigation into influence-peddling that’s already led to the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The probe into whether the country’s largest business group paid for political favors could complicate succession plans at Samsung, the electronics-to-finance conglomerate that’s also the economy’s biggest driver.

Lee, who was questioned by prosecutors for 15 hours on Monday, is suspected of involvement in payments that Samsung made to a close friend of Park, as South Korea’s richest family sought support for a deal intended to smooth a transfer of power to Lee. Prosecutors issued their first arrest warrant for Lee on Jan. 16 but was rejected by a court days later.

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