South Korean prosecutors independently investigating the presidential scandal indicated the second request to detain the heir apparent of Samsung Group, the country’s largest family-run conglomerate, after the previous attempt failed.
Lee Kyu-chul, spokesman of the independent counsel probing the scandal involving President Park Geun-hye, told a press briefing Friday that the second request can be considered according to future situations though it has yet to be decided.
The special prosecutors on Monday sought an arrest warrant for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong for charges of bribery, perjury and embezzlement.
The request was rejected by a Seoul court early Thursday, citing a room for dispute and lack of evidence.
The rejection was seen as the shortage in grilling President Park’s longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil at the center of the influence-peddling scandal that led to the impeachment of the president.
The Samsung heir is suspected of bribing Choi and her daughter in return for getting support from the national pension fund in the July 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates, which was crucial to Vice Chairman Lee to inherit management control from his ailing father Lee Kun-hee.
The independent counsel team claims that Choi and President Park shared private interests, meaning bribing Choi equals to bribing the president.
The team asked Choi to appear in its office on Saturday morning, which was rejected by her. Its spokesman said Choi is an accomplice in the bribery case.
Choi was summoned by the special prosecutors for questioning on Dec. 24, but she has since refused any request for interrogation, citing various reasons such as emotional shock.
The spokesman added that if Choi rejects the summoning again, forcible interrogation will be conducted. Enditem