UPDATE : 2019.11.18 MON 11:27
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Court holds hearing on arrest warrant for Samsung heir

A Seoul court held a hearing Thursday on special prosecutors' second request for a warrant to arrest the de facto leader of Samsung Group on charges of bribery in connection with a scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., appeared at the Seoul Central District Court to attend the hearing. The court is expected to deliver the decision by early Friday morning.

It is the second time for the special prosecutors to seek a writ to formally arrest Lee after their first request was rejected by the court last month.

This time they also asked the court to arrest Samsung Electronics President Park Sang-jin for his involvement in the alleged irregularities.

After some three weeks of additional investigation, the prosecutors leveled more charges against Lee for allegedly hiding criminal proceeds and violating the law on transferring property abroad in the process of giving bribes to President Park's friend.

Prosecutors suspect that Lee gave or promised some 43 billion won (US$36.3 million) worth of bribes to the president'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 business arrangement 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.

The Samsung scion has denied the allegations raised against him.

He was questioned a second time on Monday as special prosecutors accelerated their probe into an influence-peddling scandal centered on President Park, with their investigation deadline slated for Feb. 28.

The period can be extended once for a month upon consent from Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn. (Yonhap)

Park So-yeon  edt@koreapost.com

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