Independent counsel questioning Samsung heir apparent over corruption allegations

Published on 12 Jan 2017, 5:15
특검, 이재용 뇌물공여 피의자로 소환
Let's begin with the latest on the probe into the power abuse scandal that goes to the very top of Korea's political and business world.
It's a big day as the multi-billionaire heir apparent of Korean tech giant Samsung Group is being questioned as a suspect in relation to the investigation.
We connect live to our Hwang Hojun,... who's covering the story at the Independent Counsel Office in Seoul.
Hojun, this is a substantial development as this is one of the most powerful men in Korea...

That's right, 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.

He arrived at around 9:30 a.m., just a couple of hours ago, and hundreds of reporters from numerous domestic and international news outlets gathered to witness the first corporate leader to be treated as a suspect in the influence-peddling scandal,... creating probably the biggest crowd we've seen so far here.
Together with what appeared to be just one lawyer,... Lee shuffled through the crowd toward the elevator, while camera flashes popped and reporters sought remarks from him.
The Samsung chief left us with just a single comment before going inside.
Take a look.

"I'm deeply sorry and I apologize to the Korean people for failing to put our best face forward due to this incident."

Lee Jae-yong is being questioned because of accusations that 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.
Samsung has acknowledged making those contributions but has repeatedly denied accusations of lobbying to push through the controversial merger.

In fact, 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 probably hear more during the afternoon briefing given by the team's spokesperson, in a couple hours.
Back to you, Mark.

Visit ‘Arirang News’ Official Pages

news tech music