South Korean prosecutors raided the offices of Samsung Group, Yonhap News reports on Wednesday, over its alleged link with Choi Soon-soil, President Park Geun-Hye’s longtime confidant who has been indicted for criminal acts.A Samsung Group spokeswoman confirmed prosecution officials had visited the group’s headquarters, but could give no further details.
Prosecutors were in the middle of an hours-long sweep of Samsung’s headquarters in the Gangnam neighborhood of Seoul, a spokeswoman for the conglomerate said.A spokeswoman for the National Pension Service—the world’s third largest, with about $460 billion in assets—confirmed that prosecutors had raided its headquarters in the South Korean city of Jeonju, as well as its offices in Seoul.
Park and Choi are under investigation for allegedly improperly pressuring major conglomerates including the Samsung Group, South Korea’s largest family-run conglomerate, to raise funds for foundations that backed Park’s policy of promoting the cultural and sports communities.Choi and former presidential aide An Chong-bum were indicted on Sunday and charged with abuse of power, in a major blow to the president’s fight for political survival.
The scandal has led to growing calls for Ms. Park’s resignation, but she has said the allegations are “fantasy”.
Wednesday’s raids aren’t the first prosecutors have carried out on Samsung. In recent weeks, prosecutors seized documents from Samsung’s Gangnam offices and from an advertising affiliate. They have questioned several top executives at Samsung and its affiliates, including Lee Jae-Yong, the conglomerate’s 48-year-old heir apparent.