The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday rejected prosecutors' application to detain Mr. Prosecutors also tacked on charges of embezzlement and perjury on top of the bribery charges. The court will be deciding whether or not to grant the warrant on Wednesday this week, formal charges and an indictment would then follow.
South Korea's special prosecutors' office said it will seek a warrant to arrest the head of Samsung Group, the country's biggest conglomerate, as a corruption scandal engulfing president Park Geun-hye escalated on Monday.
When Lee Jae-Yong emerged from a marathon 22-hour questioning session last week, his taut, fixed hint of a smile gave nothing away, seemingly characteristic of the electronics giant's opaque leadership.
In exchange for the kickbacks, President Park is suspected of ordering the former health and welfare minister, who is now in custody, to pressure the National Pension Service (NPS) into voting for the Samsung merger. The arrest warrant would let prosecutors continue their probe while Samsung's Mr.
"The independent counsel considers this money a bribe related to Lee's succession within Samsung", the spokesman for the independent counsel said Monday.
Samsung insists it "did not make contributions in order to receive favors", and says it's confident "the court will make the appropriate judgment on this matter".
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In return for the financial assistance, Vice Chairman Lee is suspected of getting support from the national pension fund in the July 2015 merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries to create a de-facto holding company.
Park has also denied wrongdoing, though admitted carelessness in her relationship with Choi.
The Samsung scion has denied most of the allegations raised during a parliamentary hearing held last month.
Like most other corruption scandals in the chaebol, the trouble at Samsung stemmed from allegations that the company used bribery and other illegal tools to help the father transfer management control to his son.
Before prosecutors requested Lee's arrest, Samsung Electronic's share price had been setting record highs, with shareholders anticipating generous dividends. Ms. Park's powers have been suspended while the Constitutional Court decides whether to end her presidency. "If a South Korean corporation acquiring a leading company is accused of offering bribes, there's a strong chance key workers at that leading company will leave ahead of time to avoid their own reputation being damaged and having difficulties finding other work in the future", the executive added.
"Big things, like restructuring or a new big multibillion-dollar investment, things like that might be tricky for him to get to", he said.