South Korean investigators on Thursday raided the offices of Lotte Group, SK Group and government agencies as part of a widening probe into alleged influence-peddling that has engulfed President Park Geun-hye.
The raids came a day after prosecution investigators carried out related searches at offices of Samsung Group, South Korea’s largest family-run conglomerate and the parent of global smartphone leader Samsung Electronics, Yonhap news agency reported.
The businesses are suspected of providing money to organisations controlled or owned by Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of Park, to win government favours in relation to duty free licences, Yonhap reported.
A Lotte Group spokesman confirmed the company’s offices had been raided but gave no further details. An SK Group spokesman had no information on the matter and a prosecution spokesman was not available for comment.
Prosecutors on Sunday indicted Choi and a former aide of Park on charges of colluding to pressure companies to contribute funds to foundations at the centre of the scandal.
The finance ministry and customs service, which oversee duty free licences, were also raided, Yonhap reported. A finance ministry official confirmed the raid but a customs official had no information.