South Korean prosecutors investigating a corruption scandal engulfing President Park Geun-Hye questioned the head of the country’s largest steelmaker as well as a top Samsung executive on Saturday. Posco chief executive Kwon Oh-Joon was grilled overnight about allegations surrounding the 2014 sale of the company’s in-house advertising unit.
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Kwon was the first head of a major South Korean conglomerate to be questioned over the scandal centred on Park’s close personal friend Choi Soon-Sil. The allegations are that one of Choi’s associates attempted to force the company that bought Posco’s advertising subsidiary to hand over 80 percent of its shares.
Kwon, 66, returned home early Saturday after undergoing 12 hours of intensive questioning at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, Yonhap news agency said. Prosecutors are investigating allegations that Choi, 60, leveraged her personal ties with Park to coerce donations from large companies like Samsung and Posco to non-profit foundations which she set up and used for personal gain.
She is also accused of interfering in government affairs, despite holding no official position.
Park Sang-Jin, a Samsung Electronics’ president for corporate relations, was also questioned Saturday about reports that Samsung Electronics may have funnelled as much as 2.8 million euros (USD 3.1 million) to Choi to bankroll her daughter’s equestrian training in Germany.
Park was quizzed four days after prosecutors raided Samsung Electronics’ headquarters in Seoul. The world’s largest smartphone maker has said it will cooperate with any investigations.