Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee arrived at the South Korean special prosecutor's office for questioning over bribery suspicions as part of a widening influence-peddling scandal that may permanently unseat President Park Geun-hye. Laura Frykberg reports.
He arrived at a special prosecutor's office in Seoul to a frosty reception. But then, Jay Y. Lee - head of Samsung Group - is suspected of no small crime. Prosecutors want to know if his company gave millions of dollars to foundations operated by a close friend of the country's president. In exchange - it's alleged - for political support for a controversial merger. It's all part of an influence-peddling scandal that's seen the president impeached. She's denied it, so has her close friend - but the two have both said sorry. Now Lee has followed suit. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SAMSUNG GROUP HEIR APPARENT AND VICE CHAIRMAN OF SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS, JAY Y. LEE, SAYING: "I apologise to the South Korean people for revealing something which is not very positive" The prosecution has not ruled out indictment for Samsung executives.. Or indeed an arrest warrant for Lee. One might think such a saga would damage a country's economy Not South Korea's. It grew by 2.7 percent in 2016. SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH KOREAN FINANCE MINISTER YOO IL-HO SAYING: "We have not seen any real, real meaningful impact from inside politics yet. Maybe there is some kind of psychological factor on consumption for example, or investment, but that doesn't seem to be big so far." The bigger worry - he says - is the incoming US president. Who's pledged to renegotiate a key free trade agreement between the two countries.