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South Korea investigators consider arresting Samsung boss

South Korean special prosecutor’s office is considering whether to seek an arrest warrant for Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee amid a probe into an influence-peddling scandal involving President Park Geun-hye, Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.

The special prosecution has been investigating whether Samsung provided 30 billion won ($25.28 million) to a business and foundations backed by Park’s friend in exchange for the national pension fund’s support for a 2016 merger of two Samsung affiliate, according to Reuters.

Lee was named a suspect on Wednesday and summoned early Thursday morning for questioning.

Independent counsel Park Young-soo on Wednesday showed reporters a tablet PC with e-mails allegedly exchanged between President Park Geun-hye’s longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil and Samsung Group, according to Chosun Ilbo.

The e-mails exchanged between Choi and Samsung staff concern the establishment of Core Sports, a paper company she set up in Germany, allegedly to funnel her slush funds.

National Pension Service (NPS) gave the decisive vote on a merger between Samsung C&T – the construction arm of Samsung Group, and Cheil Industries. NPS head, Moon Hyung-pyo, is under arrest as it is 20-year-old Chung Yoo-ra, the 20 year old daughter of Choi Soon-sil, a close confindant of president Park.

Jay Y. Lee is the leader of Samsung conglomerate, the biggest in South Korea, since his father, Lee Kun-hee, had a heart attack in 2014. Lee denied Samsung asked for favours in exchange.

Daniel Higgson