South Korean prosecutors independently investigating the scandal involving impeached President Park Geun-hye on Friday raided the offices of an anti-trust body and a financial regulator to receive relevant materials.
The independent counsel team said that some offices of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) in Seoul and the offices of the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) in the administrative city of Sejong were stormed earlier in the morning.
The search and seizure was conducted to get necessary materials linked to its probe into allegations over bribery involving Samsung Group, South Korea’s largest family-run conglomerate, and the official development assistance (ODA) projects involving President Park’s longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil.
The confiscation warrants were issued for the procedural purpose as special prosecutors seek to get personal and financial information of the suspects from the government bodies.
The special prosecutors are reportedly investigating into whether the anti-trust body helped enact the law on the establishment of financial holding company, which would be significant in the transfer of management control for Samsung.
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who has led the conglomerate since his father Chairman Lee Kun-hee was hospitalized in May 2014, is seeking to inherit the managerial power of the country’s largest chaebol.
The independent counsel team sought to detain Vice Chairman Lee for offering bribes to Choi Soon-sil, who has been identified as the one who shares assets with the impeached leader, but it was rejected on lack of evidence.
The bribes are estimated to have been given to the president’s longtime friend in return for the national pension fund’s vote in favor of the 2015 merger between Samsung affiliates, a pivot to create a de-facto holding company.
Meanwhile, Choi is also suspected of intervening in South Korea’s ODA projects in Myanmar in order to gain her private interests.
South Korean ambassador to Myanmar recently confessed to the special prosecutors that he was nominated as the ambassador at the recommendation of Choi. Enditem