Lee Hak-soo (left), vice chairman of South Korea's largest group Samsung, is seen after a press conference as Lee Kun-hee (right), the group's chairman walks out of a conference room at the group's headquarters in Seoul on April 22, 2008. (JUNG YEON-JE / AFP)
SEOUL - Former Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Hak-soo was summoned by South Korean prosecutors for an alleged corruption involving former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Yonhap news agency reported Wednesday citing the prosecution office.
The former Samsung vice chairman, who had stayed abroad until recently, returned to South Korea and showed his willingness to appear in the prosecutors' office
Prosecutors called on the former Samsung vice head to appear in their office in Seoul early Thursday for questioning over the alleged bribery charge embroiling former president Lee, whose five-year term ended in early 2013.
The former Samsung vice chairman, who had stayed abroad until recently, returned to South Korea and showed his willingness to appear in the prosecutors' office, according to the Yonhap report.
He was suspected of having been deeply involved in Samsung's payment of litigation costs for DAS, a South Korean auto parts maker which is owned by former president Lee's eldest brother Lee Sang-eun but is suspected of being possessed actually by the former president.
DAS invested 19 billion won (US$17.6 million) in establishing investment consulting company BBK in 1999, but the BBK faced a lawsuit for stock price manipulation in 2001. Thousands of individual investors lost about 100 billion won (US$92.8 million) for the stock rigging.
In the United States, DAS filed a lawsuit against Kim Kyung-joon, a Korean American and former BBK president, and received 14 billion won (US$13 million) in damages from Kim through his personal Swiss bank account in February 2011 when the former South Korean president was in office.
Samsung paid the US litigation costs on behalf of DAS, and prosecutors suspected that Lee Hak-soo was deeply involved in the proxy payment of the lawsuit costs.
An unnamed official of the prosecution office was quoted by Yonhap as saying the ongoing investigation is about bribery charge.
In December 2009, former President Lee granted a pardon only to Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee who had got a suspended jail term at the time for slush funds.
Prosecutors searched Samsung offices in Seoul and Suwon, outskirts of the capital city, for two days from Feb 8.