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2nd LD Writethru: S.Korean independent counsel seeks arrest warrant for Samsung heir

Xinhua, January 16, 2017 Adjust font size:

South Korean independent counsel team investigating a scandal involving impeached President Park Geun-hye sought an arrest warrant for the heir apparent of Samsung Group, the country's largest family-run conglomerate.

The team said in a text message on Monday that it had sought an arrest warrant for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong for criminal counts, including bribery charge.

Whether the Samsung heir will be detained for his alleged involvement in the scandal, which resulted in President Park's impeachment, is scheduled to be determined by a court on Wednesday.

Samsung is suspected of having provided financial assistance to President Park's longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil and Chio's daughter in return for getting support from the national pension fund in the merger in July 2015 of two Samsung affiliates.

The merger to create a de-facto holding company was extremely crucial to the heir apparent to inherit the overall management control from his ailing father Lee Kun-hee who has been hospitalized for over two and a half years.

The national pension fund voted for the merger despite strong opposition from foreign shareholders and outside advisory groups for an unfair exchange ratio.

President Park and Vice Chairman Lee met face-to-face around the time of the merger.

Samsung made the biggest donations among scores of conglomerates to two Choi-controlled foundations. It also bought a horse Choi's daughter, while providing financial assistance to Choi's daughter for her equestrian training.

Vice Chairman Lee was also charged with giving a false testimony during the Dec. 6 parliamentary hearing on the presidential scandal as he denied his involvement in the scandal, according to local media reports. Endit