Police raid office of Samsung family homes over decorating expenses

Police raid office of Samsung family homes over decorating expenses
Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., arrives for his trial at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea August 7, 2017.
PHOTO: Reuters

SEOUL - South Korean police on Monday raided a management office for residences of Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee and his family over alleged misappropriation of company funds used to pay for interior renovations, they said.

The move came hours before prosecutors demanded a 12-year jail term for Lee's son and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman, Jay Y. Lee, over bribery and other charges.

Jay Y. Lee has been in detention since February, on trial for charges ranging from embezzlement to perjury, in a scandal that gripped the country for months and led to the ouster of former president Park Geun-hye.

Seven investigators seized documents on the renovations at the office located near the residences in central Seoul, police said.

The company is suspected of having paid a home interior decoration firm checks from accounts created under borrowed names, while demanding the firm not issue tax receipts for the work, carried out from October 2008 to March 2015, police said.

No individual suspect had been identified so far, a police official told Reuters separately.

A Samsung spokeswoman declined to comment, but referred to the company's statement in June that the expenses were paid by chairman Lee personally and receipts were issued.

In July, police raided the headquarters of Korean Air Lines Co Ltd as part of an investigation into the suspected use of corporate money for remodelling work at the home of Chairman Cho Yang-ho.

A series of probes came after President Moon Jae-in came to power in May on the back of promises to reform the opaque"chaebol" business empires which dominate Asia's fourth-biggest economy.

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