South Korea’s special prosecutor’s office on Tuesday said 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.
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 is also seeking 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.
In January, the Seoul Central District Court rejected the prosecution’s first request for a warrant to arrest the Samsung chief.
Report says if Lee is arrested it will deal a serious blow to Samsung, the world’s biggest maker of Smartphones, memory chips and flat-screen televisions.
It would also hamper strategic decision-making such as new investments and acquisitions.
The prosecution office said the charges the two executives would face include bribery, embezzlement and hiding assets overseas.
The prosecution also said it would also bring an additional charge of perjury against for Lee in the latest arrest warrant request.
The office declined to elaborate, saying it would give a briefing on the details on Wednesday.
However, Lee and the Samsung Group have denied wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Group declined to make either executive available but issued a statement denying bribery.
“Samsung has absolutely never bribed the president seeking something in return or sought illicit favours.
“We will do our best for the truth to be revealed in court,’’ Samsung Group said in a statement.
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.
However, the impact on Samsung firms’ near-term earnings would be limited because they are run by professional managers.