S. Korean 'Rasputin' To Testify In Case Against Samsung

Posted: Jan 20 2017, 9:55am CST | by , in Latest Political News


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S. Korean 'Rasputin' to Testify in Case against Samsung
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Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of the impeached South Korean President, has been summoned to testify on Saturday as a suspect in a bribery case involving tech giant Samsung.

The South Korean prosecution on Friday said it will interrogate Choi, dubbed "South Korean Rasputin" for her proximity to President Park Geun-hye, for her links to the ongoing case against the Samsung group, allegedly involved in the corruption scandal that has shaken the country, Efe News reported.

The authorities accuse Samsung of doling out multi-million-dollar donations to several foundations and companies, allegedly controlled by Choi, in exchange for favours.

Choi's lawyer said she does not intend to testify as she is "very busy" preparing for her main trial, in which she has been accused of abuse of power, extortion and fraud, among other charges.

The prosecution's spokesperson said an arrest warrant will be issued against Choi, who is in prison since November, if she fails to appear for questioning.

Samsung is accused of paying a sum of 22 billion won ($18.6 million), to a company based in Germany and headed by Choi, for consultation services.

Moreover, the firm allegedly donated 20.4 billion won between 2015 and 2016 to two other nonprofits linked to Choi.

The prosecutor's office believes the Samsung head paid these sums to Choi in order to get approval from the government-controlled National Pension Service, shareholder in one of Samsung's companies, to merge two of its subsidiaries.

A South Korean court on Thursday rejected the arrest warrant against Lee Jae-yong, heir and de facto chief of Samsung Group, who is accused of corruption, embezzlement and perjury.

The prosecutor's office is expected to shortly interrogate three other Samsung senior executives as well as Park, to determine their role in the scandal.

The Rasputin scam came to light in October and since then has led to Park's impeachment and the start of an investigation against South Korea's biggest business groups, including Samsung, LG and Hyundai.

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