South Korean prosecutors investigating a corruption scandal engulfing President Park-Geun Hye have quizzed Samsung group scion and the chairman of Hyundai Motor, a report said Sunday.
Lee Jae-Yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and the heir-apparent of the Samsung group, was being questioned by prosecutors, Yonhap news agency said.
It cited an official at the Seoul prosecutors’ office, which is probing whether Park pressured the firms to donate millions of dollars to dubious foundations controlled by her longtime confidant, Choi Soon-Sil.
Samsung made the largest donation of more than $15 million and is accused of separately offering 2.8 million euros ($3.1 million) to Choi to bankroll her daughter’s equestrian training in Germany.
Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Mong-Koo was also quizzed along with the bosses of other powerful conglomerates, Yonhap said.
The president reportedly had a meeting last July with the top businessmen at her office and urged them to donate money to the two cultural foundations that Choi used for personal gain.
Prosecutors also announced Sunday a plan to quiz Park this week. If this happens she will be the first South Korean president to be questioned by prosecutors while in office.
The “donations” from the firms amounted to nearly $70 million, including 20 billion won ($17.5 million) from Samsung and 12.8 billion won from Hyundai.
Choi was arrested recently for allegedly using her ties with Park to coerce donations from the firms and meddling in a wide range of state affairs although she holds no official position.
The scandal has sparked nationwide fury and massive protests calling for Park to resign.