​Samsung office raided in corruption probe

South Korean authorities have raided Samsung Electronics' office in Seoul as part of a probe into the political scandal around President Park Geun-hye.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

South Korean prosecutors have raided Samsung Electronics' office in Seoul on Tuesday as part of a probe into the political scandal around President Park Guen-hye.

The offices of Samsung Future Strategy Office, the control-tower of the entire Samsung Group, is located at Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Gangnam, Seoul, and was the target.

Samsung is alleged to have given money to the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of President Park. Choi has been jailed on the grounds of unduly using her influence to affect national affairs and receiving bribes from conglomerates.

The South Korean tech giant is alleged to have given 3 billion won (around $3 million) to Choi through a company called Widec Sports in Germany, with the nominal excuse to support Choi's daughter's equestrian training.

The elder Choi is the daughter of the deceased cult leader Choi Tae-min and long time mentor to the president. She allegedly used her friendship to force conglomerates to pay donations to her foundations and correct speeches made by Park.

When the allegation surfaced this month, Samsung denied it has given money to Widec.

Prosecutors also raided Korea Equestrian Federation and the Korea Horse Affairs Association. Samsung Electronics President Park Sang-jin is chair of the Korea Equestrian Federation, and his office was also reportedly targeted during the raid.

It is the first time that Samsung's headquarters have been raided by prosecutors since its corruption scandal eight years ago. The tech giant was then accused of creating slush funds and paying bribes to senior government officials, with the investigation resulting in chairman Lee Kun-hee getting a suspended sentence for tax evasion.

Thousands have held protest rallies in front of the president's residence in Seoul since the scandal broke.

Park apologized and admitted her friendship with Choi. Her approval raiding has plummeted to 5 percent.

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