South Korean authorities said they've uncovered new evidence against Jay Y. Lee, Vice Chairman and heir of Samsung Group. On Wednesday, the Supreme Prosecutors' Office (SPO) said it's expanding the list of charges against Lee as Samsung Group's executive is now also facing accusations of concealing the proceeds of a criminal act. Lee was already charged with bribery, embezzlement, hiding of assets, and perjury. The Seoul Central District Court will hold a hearing on a second arrest warrant for Lee on Thursday. The court will also use that opportunity to examine an arrest warrant request for Samsung Electronics President Park Sang-jin. Both arrest warrants are connected to an ongoing corruption and influence-peddling scandal in the Far Eastern country. Lee, Park, and Samsung Group denied all charges and have previously claimed the prosecutors are trying to use Samsung to attack the South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
The fact that the SPO is now claiming it uncovered new evidence against Lee isn't surprising in light of the fact that the Seoul-based agency already had one arrest warrant for Lee thrown out in court last month. On that occasion, the Seoul Central District Court refused to order Lee's arrest due to a lack of evidence, so filing another request without new evidence would certainly yield identical results. However, it remains to be seen whether the newly uncovered evidence against Lee is solely related to the accusations of hiding the proceeds of a criminal act or whether the SPO is also ready to substantiate its older charges.
The corruption scandal that led to this moment revolves around President Park and her close associate Choi Soon-sil who allegedly colluded to strong-arm large companies in the country to donate to several organizations that have previously backed Park's policy initiatives. Choi is already in jail while her daughter who's also implicated by the prosecutors is currently under arrest in Denmark and is awaiting extradition to South Korea. The scandal could see Park become the first President of the Far Eastern country who has been forced out of the office. More details on the matter are bound to follow tomorrow after Lee's hearing.