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South Korea’s corruption probe ensnares key Samsung executives

Prosecutors in South Korea raided Samsung Electronics HQ in Gangnam, Seoul about a week ago as the investigation into one of the biggest corruption scandals the country has ever been gripped with continues. The raid was carried out after reports in the local media claimed that Samsung gave millions of euro to a sham foundation run by “shaman adviser” and a personal friend of South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye. Son of the existing Samsung chairman and the heir apparent Lee Jae-yong was summoned for questioning well into the night on November 13. He was primarily asked about Samsung’s alleged involvement in all of this. The corruption probe has now ensnared some of the top executives at the company.

According to local reports, prosecutors have now grilled Chang Choong-ki who is the head of Samsung’s strategy planning department. This department is actually considered as the Samsung Group’s de facto control tower as key strategy decisions are made here. He was summoned before the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office to answer questions about claims about Samsung’s relationship with the president’s friend Choi Soon-sil. Samsung’s president for corporate relations Park Sang-jin has already been summoned by prosecutors twice this month to answer questions about the company’s alleged involvement.

It’s claimed that in return for the donations made by Samsung, Choi used her influence in the political and business sectors to aid Samsung Group in completing the highly controversial merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries last year. The merger effectively aided the founding Lee family to cement their grasp on the conglomerate despite their single-digit stake.

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