January 11, 2017

Samsung heir is named as suspect in corruption probe

Prosecutors have named the heir to the Samsung empire as a suspect in the massive corruption scandal that has rocked South Korea.

Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who is expected to succeed his ailing father at the top of the country's biggest conglomerate, has been summoned for questioning over suspicions that include bribery, the prosecutors' office said Wednesday.

Lee and other top South Korean business leaders have faced questions over donations their companies made to two foundations controlled by the woman at the center of the widening scandal. The woman, Choi Soon-sil, was a confidante of South Korean President Park Geun-hye whom lawmakers voted to impeach last month.

Prosecutors say the donations were made in return for political favors.

Samsung declined to comment on the announcement that Lee is now a suspect in the investigation into the scandal.

During a public grilling by lawmakers last month, Lee denied any wrongdoing. He said that Park didn't directly ask him to support Choi's foundations and that he was unaware of Samsung's payments to them.

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