February 8, 2018 / 5:15 PM / in a year

Seoul prosecutors search Samsung Electronics in probe of ex-president: report

SEOUL (Reuters) - Seoul prosecutors have searched an office of Samsung Electronics as part of an investigation into former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, Yonhap News Agency said on Thursday.

They were looking for possible evidence of Samsung’s financial support for a company allegedly controlled by Lee, Yonhap said.

If the report is confirmed, it would mark the electronics giant’s involvement in yet another political scandal, after the heir to parent Samsung Group, Jay Y. Lee, was freed on Monday on a suspended jail sentence for bribery and embezzlement charges.

Prosecutors are investigating a private auto parts maker run by Lee Myung-bak’s family over allegations that the company was operating a slush fund for the former president. Lee has denied any allegations, calling the investigation political revenge.

Samsung said it was checking the Yonhap report. The Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office was not immediately available for comment.

Samsung heir Jay Y. Lee’s release from detention on Monday sent shockwaves through the country’s political and business establishments amid public anger over cozy ties between politicians and business. He had been jailed for his involvement in a corruption case that ousted another former president, Park Geun-hye, from office last year.

In a separate case, Samsung Electronics’ ailing chairman, Lee Kun-hee, who is Jay Y. Lee’s father, was named by South Korean police on Thursday as a suspect in a tax evasion case.

Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Edmund Blair and Susan Fenton

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