UPDATE : 2019.9.18 WED 09:47
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Samsung heir Lee questioned again over bribery allegations

Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of Samsung currently under arrest, was questioned by special prosecutors on Saturday over bribery allegations surrounding an influence-peddling scandal involving President Park Geun-hye.

Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., appeared before the probe team's office in southern Seoul to undergo questioning over the controversial merger of the conglomerate's two affiliates in 2015.

Wearing civilian clothes and handcuffed, Lee avoided answering reporters' questions and headed straight to the office after getting out of an escort van that traveled from a detention center in Uiwang, south of Seoul, where Lee was detained.

The Samsung heir returned to his cell past 10:00 p.m. after being questioned for more than 7 hours.

The independent counsel said it will continue to question Lee on Sunday.

The Samsung scion was formally arrested Friday on charges of bribery in connection with an influence-peddling scandal that led to President Park Geun-hye's impeachment.

Prosecutors suspect that Lee gave or promised some 43 billion won (US$36.3 million) worth of bribes to the president's jailed friend in return for the government's backing of a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015. They are expect to quiz the vice chairman on his three separate private meetings with President Park and what the two discussed.

Lee Jae-yong (2nd from L), vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., heads to the special prosecutors' office in southern Seoul after getting out of a justice ministry van. The Samsung scion is alleged to have given or promised some 43 billion won (US$36.3 million) worth of bribes to the president's jailed friend in return for the government's backing of a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015. (Yonhap)

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 younger Lee became a board member of Samsung Electronics in October, and his father has been hospitalized since suffering a heart attack in 2014.

The business group has admitted to making contributions to two foundations allegedly controlled by Choi and her Germany-based firm, but denied such contributions were related to the 2015 merger. (Yonhap)

Park Jin-soo  edt@koreapost.com

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