File footage of Samsung Electronics building as South Korean prosecutors raid Samsung Electronics’ offices over political scandal.
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (FILE – OCTOBER 27, 2016) (REUTERS) – South Korean prosecutors raided the offices of Samsung Electronics on Tuesday (November 8) as part of a probe over a political scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her friend who is alleged to have exerted improper influence in state affairs.
A prosecution official told Reuters the search is related to the scandal involving the president’s friend, Choi Soon-sil, but declined to comment further.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported prosecutors are looking into whether Samsung improperly provided financial assistance to Choi’s daughter.
Samsung Electronics, reeling from a $5.4 billion profit hit after the world’s top smartphone maker was forced to discontinue the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 devices, did not immediately comment on the raid.
Park’s presidency has been rocked by the scandal involving Choi, who is alleged to have used her closeness to the president to meddle in state affairs and wield influence in the sports and cultural communities.
Choi has been charged abuse of power and fraud while a former aide has been charged with abuse of power and extortion after they helped raise 77.4 billion won ($68 million) from dozens of the country’s biggest conglomerates on behalf of two foundations.
Prosecutors have been investigating an allegation that Samsung provided 2.8 million euros ($3.1 million) to a company co-owned by Choi and her daughter, who was previously a member of the South Korean national equestrian team.
Park Sang-jin, a Samsung Electronics president for corporate relations, is currently head of Korea Equestrian Federation. Yonhap said his office was part of the prosecutor’s raid Tuesday morning. Park Sang-jin could not immediately be reached for comment.
Prosecutors have already questioned a Samsung executive as part of the probe, according to a prosecution source.