Samsung chief faces arrest again over Korean bribery scandal

Lee, 48, wearing a dark coat and a navy tie, did not answer reporters' questions as he made his way into an elevator.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd President Park Sang-jin, for whom the prosecution has also requested an arrest warrant, also appeared at the special prosecutor's office on Thursday.

South Korea's special prosecutor's office said on Wednesday it had expanded charges against Lee to include hiding the proceeds of a criminal act, as well as bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas and perjury.

Last month, the Seoul Central District Court rejected the prosecution's first request for a warrant to arrest the Samsung chief.

Samsung has "never" offered bribes to the president expecting something in return nor has it sought wrongful favors, the company said.

Lee, the third-generation leader of South Korea's top conglomerate, has been identified as a suspect by prosecutors in an influence-peddling scandal that could topple President Park Geun-hye.

"We will do our best for the truth to be revealed in court", it said. The pension fund's current chief was arrested a year ago on suspicion of pressuring the fund to back the merger, which helped Lee increase his influence in Samsung Electronics without spending any of his money.

The office declined to elaborate, saying it would give a briefing on the details on Wednesday.

Park was impeached by parliament in December after accusations that she colluded with Choi to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back the president's policy initiatives.

Proving illicit dealings between Park, or those linked to her, and the Samsung Group is critical for the special prosecutor's case that ultimately targets Park, analysts have said.

Lee was questioned again on Monday as the investigation deadline of 28 February drew closer.

South Korean media reports said the prosecutors have been looking at whether Samsung purchased a costly horse for Choi's daughter, who is an equestrian, an allegation that Samsung has denied.

Earlier this month, prosecutors searched the offices of the antitrust agency, the Korea Fair Trade Commission, and financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission, as part of their investigation of Samsung Group.

  • Leroy Wright