SEOUL, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The Seoul offices of Samsung and South Korea's National Pension Service were raided by prosecutors Wednesday as a government corruption scandal grows.
Samsung's Seoul headquarters was raided earlier this month in the corruption investigation of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, but Wednesday's raid was for information about a controversial merger last year between Samsung's construction subsidiary Samsung C&T and an affiliate business, Cheil Industries. Shareholders objected to the deal at the time, saying it would only benefit the family of Samsung Group owner Lee Kun-hee. The National Pension Service, a stockholder in both companies, approved the merger.
An unidentified NPS leader allegedly received a telephone call from Moon Hyung-pyo, then South Korea's health and welfare minister and current NPS chief, urging an affirmative vote for the merger. In return for support of the merger, Samsung was among several conglomerates that allegedly provided cash and favors to Park's confidante, Choi Soon-sil, including donations to the national equestrian federation where Choi's daughter trains as an athlete, the Korea Times said Wednesday.
Park, Choi and Samsung could face bribery charges if the allegations are true.
Choi has already been charged with coercion and attempted fraud, and is suspected of using her non-appointed, non-elected position as Park's confidante to obtain favors from businesses and the government. The allegations have angered the South Korean public, and Park has been urged to resign.