Independent counsel summons Samsung heir apparent for questioning

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Published on 12 Jan 2017, 1:45
특검, 이재용 뇌물공여 피의자로 소환
We start with breaking news from the team of special prosecutors investigating the power abuse scandal that goes to the very top of Korea's political and business world.
The multi-billionaire heir apparent of Korean tech giant Samsung Group has been summoned for questioning as a suspect in relation to tzhe probe.
He arrived there within the last half-an-hour or so.
We now connect live to our Hwang Hojun,... who's at the independent counsel office in southern Seoul.
Hojun, one of... if not *the most powerful man in Korea... is in the building,... it must be chaos there,... especially when he arrived...

Chaos would be the appropriate word, Mark.
Lee Jae-yong, the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, and the de-facto leader of the tech giant, is being interrogated by the independent counsel team, not as a witness, but as a suspect on charges of bribery as we speak.
It was probably the biggest crowd we've seen so far here,

as hundreds of reporters from numerous domestic and international new outlets gathered to witness the first corporate leader to be treated as a suspect in the influence-peddling scandal that has engulfed the nation.
There was a big scramble and camera flashes were popping constantly as reporters sought remarks from Lee.
It did spark a frenzy, albeit short-lived, as he shuffled through the crowd toward the elevator, leaving a single comment, that he's sorry to the Korean people.
Lee Jae-yong is here because there are allegation Samsung Group signed a consulting contract in the summer of 2015 worth more than 18 million U.S. dollars with Core Sports, a company based in Germany owned by Choi Soon-sil herself.
Choi, we should add, is the woman at the heart of the scandal.
Now... the premise of the business contract was to support promising dressage competitors,...but the money was used to support only one competitor,... Choi Soon-sil's daughter, Chung Yoo-ra.
And soon after the deal struck, two of Samsung Group's affiliates, Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries completed a controversial merger backed by the state-run National Pension Service.
The merger was deemed crucial for Lee to secure his succession.
The independent counsel team wants to question Vice chairman Lee over whether the funds were provided in exchange for Choi Soon-sil's influence... to secure support for that now infamous merger in 2015.
Choi is suspected of using her connection with President Park Geun-hye to pressure the National Pension Service to support the combining of those affiliates.
Some other shady donations from Samsung include the contribution of over one-point-three million dollars to the Winter Sports Elite Center, established by Choi's niece Jang Si-ho,... and about 17 million dollars to the Mir and K-Sports foundations controlled by Choi,... the largest contribution among the other 53 conglomerates that gave money.

Samsung has acknowledged making those contributions but has repeatedly denied accusations of lobbying to push through the controversial merger.
In fact, watchers are saying it's highly likely Lee will assert that he and his company are the victims of blackmail and coercion by the Presidential Office,... but we'll have to wait and see.
Back to you, Mark.


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