SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap)-A Seoul court held a hearing Wednesday to decide whether to issue a writ to formally arrest Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Group's de facto leader, over allegations he bribed President Park Geun-hye's close friend in return for business favors.
A team of special investigators looking into the scandal sought the warrant against Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., on Monday on charges of bribery, embezzlement and perjury.
The Seoul Central District Court began the hearing at 10:30 a.m. The result is likely to come out near or after midnight.
Lee is suspected of giving or promising to give some 43 billion won (US$36.3 million) worth of bribes to Park's jailed friend Choi Soon-sil in return for the state-run pension fund's backing of a merger of two Samsung affiliates.
The merger was seen as critical for Lee, the only son of the ailing Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, to pave the way for a management succession to the junior Lee.
The younger Lee became a board member of Samsung Electronics in October, and his father Lee has been hospitalized since suffering a heart attack in 2014.
The Samsung scion has denied most of the allegations raised during a parliamentary hearing held last month. Investigators have accused him of perjury.
The probe team's decision to seek a warrant came a few days after Lee was grilled by investigators for about 22 hours from Thursday to early Friday.
They said they will carry out their investigation on three other senior Samsung executives, including Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung, without detention.