South Korea: An $830,000 Horse, a Presidential Scandal and Samsung Succession

Author(s): Jungah Lee, Hooyeon Kim | Date: January 10, 2017 | Language: English
Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/ | URL: https://goo.gl/3wcG8r | Type: Text

Samsung Group is getting pulled deeper into the scandal engulfing South Korea’s president with prosecutors homing in on whether an $830,000 horse and millions in other payments were made to smooth succession at the top of the country’s largest company.
Special prosecutors summoned two top Samsung executives to answer questions Monday about the company’s role in an alleged influence-peddling scheme that has already led to President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. The vice chairman and president of Samsung’s corporate strategy office have not been accused of wrongdoing, though that status may change, according to a spokesperson for the prosecutor.
Investigators are trying to figure out whether Samsung made donations to benefit the president’s friend, Choi Soon-sil, in exchange for political favors. In particular, prosecutors want to know whether the president exerted pressure on Korea’s national pension service, a $452 billion fund with money from 22 million citizens, to support a merger of two Samsung Group companies. The controversial deal, opposed by some investors, was approved in 2015 and will make it easier for heir apparent Jay Y. Lee to gain control over the sprawling conglomerate his grandfather founded.

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