SEOUL (The philipines): South Korean investigators on Wednesday detained the state-run pension fund chief since they expand a probe towards a corruption scandal to determine whether President Park Geun-Hye took bribes from conglomerates including Samsung.
A special prosecutor has long been investigating whether Samsung bribed Park’s confidant, Choi Soon-Sil, to win state approval to get a controversial merger of a couple its units in July during the past year.
National Pension Service chief Moon Hyung-Pyo, who served as health minister until August 2015, is accused of pressuring a state pension fund to back the merger.
Moon has denied all allegations but was taken into emergency detention right after a key NPS official told investigators he was pressured by way of the health ministry to choose the merger, Yonhap news agency said.
Investigators have to decide calling seek a warrant to formally arrest Moon before the emergency detention period expires in 48 hrs.
The merger of Samsung units Cheil Industries and Samsung C&T recently was seen as an crucial aspect to ensure a smooth father-to-son power transfer to Lee Jae-Yong, scion of Samsung’s founding family.
It was criticised by many who said it undervalued Samsung C&T stock.
But the NPS — a significant Samsung shareholder — voted in preference of the deal.
Last week, investigators searched around 10 places including NPS offices along with the health ministry, which oversees the fund.
The NPS oversees 543 trillion won (US$461 billion) in funds, turning it into the world’s third largest public pension fund.
The special prosecutor – appointed by lawmakers – has taken so over from state prosecutors.
Choi has been formally indicted on charges of abuse of power and coercion.
She is accused of leveraging her personal relationship with Park to coerce donations from big firms like Samsung or two non-profit foundations which has been then useful for Choi’s personal gain.
Prosecutors say Park colluded with Choi to extract money from your firms and often will question obama like a subject inside of a criminal investigation.