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Choi Soon-sil Scandal: Samsung VP Lee Jae-yong Questioned for Second Time as Suspect


Samsung VP Lee Jae-yong has been questioned for a second time as a suspect in South Korea’s biggest political corruption scandal.

Prosecutors are expected to decide based on the hearing whether they will seek an arrest warrant for Lee Jae-yong.

Samsung is accused of giving donations to non-profit foundations run by a confidante of President Park Geun-hye in exchange for political favors.

Lee Jae-yong told reports before the hearing: “I will once again tell the truth.”

He had already been questioned with several other company executives in January but a subsequent court ruling decided there were insufficient grounds for an arrest.

Image source Wikimedia

Yet during the past weeks investigators reviewed the case and decided there were new aspects that required further questioning.

The claims against Samsung revolve around a merger between the electronics giant’s construction arm, Samsung C&T, and an affiliate company, Cheil Industries.

The prosecution alleges that Samsung gave 2.8 million euros ($3.1 million) to a company co-owned by President Park Geun-hye’s confidante Choi Soon-sil and her daughter, in return for political support for the deal.

The scandal led to President Park Geun-hye being impeached in December 2016.

Lee Jae-yong, also known as Jay Y. Lee, first gave evidence in front of a parliamentary hearing in December 2016. Since January he has been treated as an official suspect in the case.

At the parliamentary hearing, Samsung admitted giving a total of 20.4 billion won ($17.46 million) to the two foundations, but denied seeking favors in return.

Lee Jae-yong also confirmed Samsung gave a horse and money to help the equestrian career of Choi Soon-sil’s daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, something he said he now regretted.

Choi Soon-sil is on trial for charges including corruption and coercion.