Reporters in South Korea gather to watch Choi Soon-sil being escorted to the prosecutor’s office last October. The scandal has led to the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye and interrogations of Samsung executives. Photo by Yonhap News Agency/UPI
Feb. 13 (UPI) -- South Korean prosecutors interrogated Samsung's de facto chief executive Lee Jae-yong for the second time on Monday.
Lee, also known as Jay Y. Lee, is the vice chairman of Samsung Group, the parent company of the $200-billion company Samsung Electronics.
Lee and four other Samsung executives were questioned for their involvement in a corruption scandal involving South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her longtime acquaintance Choi Soon-sil, South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh reported.
Lee and the executives are suspected of giving a total of $37.7 million in bribes not to Park, but to special interests that include the two "charitable" foundations under Choi's supervision.
"We will investigate the vice chairman today and decide whether to request a warrant [for his arrest] after the review," said Lee Kyu-chul, a spokesman for the prosecution.
Samsung has admitted giving $17.5 million in donations to Choi's foundations in December, but denied seeking favors in return.
Prosecutors have said Samsung may have made a separate donation of $3.1 million to Choi's organization to seek support for a merger between a construction firm and an affiliate company under Samsung's supervision, according to the BBC.
The prosecution also believes there was a meeting involving Lee and Samsung Electronics chief executive Park Sang-jin on July 27, 2016. The 30-minute meeting may have included discussions of financial support for Choi's daughter Chung Yoo-ra's equestrian activities.
One of Choi's organizations, the Mir Foundation, is also believed to have benefited from government projects in Africa, according to local television network JTBC.
Documents for "Korea Aid," a Seoul project that supplies millions of dollars toward development, indicate Mir Foundation had designed the ventures that included bringing ambulances, food trucks, and "cultural video" trucks to specific countries.