South Korea: Lotte and SK Group offices raided over alleged political scandal

Employees walk past logos of Samsung Group at its headquarters in Seoul

There is also a concern that a second and a third Elliot may come forward while harnessing the ISD system, depending the results of the prosecution's investigation.

South Korean prosecutors investigating a corruption scandal surrounding the country's president and her friend raided a unit of the country's largest business group, Samsung, and the national pension fund on Wednesday, as public outrage grows over Samsung's alleged link to the scandal.

Prosecutors also raided South Korea's largest pension fund, the National Pension Service (NPS), an NPS spokeswoman said.

Prosecutors believe that Samsung has given 2.8 million euros to the company owned by a close friend of President Park, Choi Soon-sil, after the entrepreneur required persistently for "donations".

A Lotte Group spokesman confirmed the company's offices had been raided but gave no further detail.

Local prosecutors raided the offices of Samsung's Future Strategy Office located at Samsung Electronics' building in Seoul.

Last week prosecutors accused Ms Park of conspiring to coerce 50-odd companies to funnel 80bn won ($70m) to two foundations, Mir and K-Sports, controlled by Choi Soon-sil, a confidante indicted for abuse of power.

It was censured by numerous who said it willfully underestimated Samsung C&T's stocks, however, Seoul's National Pension Service a noteworthy Samsung shareholder, voted for the arrangement, which in the long run experienced.

Lee Young-Ryeol, who is the leading prosecutor in the probe, has attributed a major "collusive" role to President Park.

On Wednesday, the office of the president said that two other government officials, a senior presidential secretary and the justice minister had said they would resign.

Samsung - South Korea's biggest business group - donated 20 billion won to Choi's foundations, making it the largest single contributor.

If it proves that the presidential office pressed the NPS to back the Samsung merger in return for bribes, President Park and her confidante would face a minimum of 10-year imprisonment.

In an earlier raid, prosecutors reportedly have seized documents from Samsung's Gangnam offices and from an advertising affiliate.

They are probing whether Park Geun-hye pressured the fund to support a Samsung merger, said the Yonhap news agency.

However, according to records of the NPS Investment Office committee's decision to back the merger in July 2015, acquired by an opposition lawmaker and seen by Reuters, the NPS had calculated a merger ratio of 1:0.46 of Cheil Industries shares to Samsung C&T shares, based on its valuations of the two firms. The pension fund cast a vote in support of the merger even as some outside advisers recommended it oppose the deal.



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