Prosecutors raid Samsung HQ and chairman's home
SEOUL (Reuters) - Agents for South Korean independent prosecutors investigating alleged bribery by the country's biggest conglomerate, Samsung Group, raided its Seoul headquarters and the residence of its chairman on Tuesday, a prosecution official said.
The move comes after prosecutors searched Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee's office and other executives' homes on Monday, but were seen leaving the premises with only a small volume of materials.
South Korea last week launched a special probe on suspicions that Samsung bribed public officials to squash investigations into its management practices.
Yoon Jung-seok, a prosecutor on the team, told reporters there had been a "search and seizure" at Lee's residence, starting at 11 a.m. (0200 GMT) and ending at 3.30 p.m. He did not elaborate.
Yoon said officials also raided Samsung's computer data centres south of Seoul and another office in downtown Seoul.
An official at Samsung headquarters said its offices were being raided, but said the move did not appear to involve the offices of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in the same building.
South Korea's parliament approved the special counsel in November in response to allegations made by Kim Yong-cheol, a former top Samsung legal executive, who said the group used its subsidiaries to help create a slush fund.
Samsung has called the accusations groundless, and issued detailed rebuttals of Kim's claims.
South Korean prosecutors conducted a separate probe following Kim's accusations. Kim, who waited about three years after leaving Samsung to make the charges late last year, said the company bribed members of the prosecution.
Last month, the country's financial watchdogs said a bank and a brokerage had violated banking rules when handling accounts set up for the Samsung Group. Kim said Samsung set up the accounts in employees' names as a way to hide money for slush funds.
Best known for Samsung Electronics, the world's top maker of liquid crystal display (LCD) screens and memory chips, the Samsung Group wields enormous power in South Korea.
The special prosecutors have about 100 days to conduct its probe.
(Additional reporting by Rhee So-eui and Lee Chang-ho, Editing by Keiron Henderson & Ian Geoghegan)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this