South Korea Seeks Arrest of Samsung Chief Suspected of Bribery

Lee Jae-yong
Lee Jae-yong, center, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, speaks as he arrives Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, to be questioned as a suspect in a bribery case relating to the massive South Korean influence-peddling scandal that led to the president's impeachment.Ahn Young joon / AP

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By The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — Prosecutors requested the arrest Monday of the Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong as a bribery suspect in the influence-peddling scandal that led to the impeachment of South Korea's president.

The special prosecutor's office said it had asked the court to approve a warrant for the arrest of Lee, the 48-year-old Samsung Electronics vice chairman.

Samsung is South Korea's biggest company, and Lee is its de facto head.

The prosecutors office said it also indicted ex-health minister Moon Hyung-pyo on charges he abused his power to compel the national pension fund to support a contentious Samsung merger in 2015.

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Last week, the investigators questioned Lee on allegations Samsung won government favors such as getting backing for the merger in exchange for donating corporate funds to various entities controlled by Choi Soon-sil, a long-time friend of President Park Geun-hye. She has been jailed.

Lee earlier denied the allegations. Samsung had no comment when asked about the arrest warrant.