UPDATE : 2019.9.20 FRI 11:25
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Special prosecutors to question Samsung chief Lee again over bribery allegations

Special prosecutors plan to question Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Group's de facto leader, again over bribery allegations this week, as they accelerate their probe into a corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her friend.

The summons, set for Monday at 9:30 a.m., will be the first questioning of Lee, the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., since a Seoul court rejected the prosecutors' request on Jan. 19 to arrest him on charges of bribery, embezzlement and perjury.

The probe team, led by Independent Counsel Park Young-soo, first quizzed him over the charges on Jan. 12.

"We plan to question vice chairman Lee on additional bribery charges," Lee Kyu-chul, the probe team's spokesman, told reporters during a regular briefing.

"Since the request for an arrest warrant against Lee was rejected, we have carried out additional investigations over the last three weeks. We need to confirm additional (evidence) we have discovered by summoning him," the official added.

The prosecutor also said that the investigation team will determine whether to seek a warrant against Lee again after questioning him.

The special counsel also plans to question Samsung Electronics President Park Sang-jin and Hwang Sung-soo, another executive of the conglomerate, Monday in relation to the scandal.

This photo, taken on Feb. 10, 2017, shows Lee Kyu-chul, the spokesman for the independent counsel team, speaking during a press conference at the investigators' office in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)

Investigators suspect that Lee gave or promised 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 in 2015.

The merger was seen as critical for the smooth management succession of the group from ailing Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee to his only son Jae-yong. (Yonhap)

Park So-yeon  edt@koreapost.com

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