February 14, 2017 - 16:06 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - South Korea's special prosecutor's office said on Tuesday, February 14 it would again seek a warrant to arrest Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee, a suspect in a graft investigation that may topple President Park Geun-hye, Reuters reports.
Lee, the third-generation leader of the country's top conglomerate, was questioned for more than 15 hours by the special prosecutor's office on Monday. The prosecutor also seeks the arrest of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd executive Park Sang-jin.
"We have filed for an arrest warrant for Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and President Park Sang-jin today," the prosecution office said in a statement, referring to the 48-year-old Samsung Group chief by his Korean name.
Last month, the Seoul Central District Court rejected the prosecution's first request for a warrant to arrest the Samsung chief.
If Lee is arrested it would deal a serious blow to Samsung, the world's biggest maker of smartphones, memory chips and flat-screen televisions, potentially hampering strategic decision-making such as new investments and acquisitions.
The prosecution office said the charges the two executives would face included bribery, and that Lee faced additional accusations in the latest arrest warrant request.
The office declined to elaborate, saying it would give a briefing on the details on Wednesday.
Lee and the Samsung Group have denied wrongdoing.
The Samsung Group declined to make either executive available and a group spokeswoman declined to comment.
The Seoul court said it would hold a hearing on the arrest warrants request at 10:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) on Thursday.
The head of corporate analysis firm CEO Score, Park Ju-gun, said if Lee was arrested it would affect some long-term operating decisions as well as his plans to consolidate management control of the group.
But the impact on Samsung firms' near-term earnings would be limited because they are run by professional managers.