Samsung Electronics’ headquarters raided by government prosecutors as South Korean political scandal deepens.
Global electronics giant Samsung Electronics – which will sell its printer business to HP Inc. next year for $1.05 billion – is involved in an odd “horses for cash” scheme. According to the Yonhap News Agency, prosecutors raided Samsung Electronics’ offices in Seoul, South Korea, on November 8th while investigating allegations that Samsung Electronics provided “illicit favors” to the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s close friend, who is said to be at the center of an influence-peddling scandal.
South Korean prosecutors said they raided Samsung Electronics and confiscated documents related to Samsung’s business with the Korea Equestrian Federation. The federation is suspected of granting “undue favors” to Choi’s daughter Chung Yoo-ra, who was a former member of the national equestrian team.
Prosecutors also said they raided a total of nine places, including the Equestrian Federation and the Korea Racing Authority, as well as officials’ homes. They’re also said to have raided the office of Park Sang-jin, who is chief of external affairs at Samsung Electronics and president of the Korea Equestrian Federation.
The Yonhap News Agency says that prosecutors are investigating allegations that Samsung sent 2.8 million euros ($3.1 million U.S.) to a company owned by Choi in Germany, under the name of a consulting arrangement, to fund her daughter’s equestrian training.
According to the Yonhap News Agency:
“The raid came five days after prosecutors questioned an executive director at the group, identified only by his surname Kim, to bear witness to suspicions that Choi collaborated with a former presidential secretary to push local companies to donate some tens of billions of won to two non-profit foundations. There have been allegations that the money was then illegally funneled to Choi, who is suspected of meddling in state affairs and amassing profits based on her ties to the president.”
Prosecutors say they are currently investigating Choi, who is under custody.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye is said have apologized twice for the scandal since late last month, but is said to have failed to curtail public outrage, with tens of thousands of citizens protesting and demanding her resignation.
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