South Korean prosecutors raided the headquarters of Samsung Group, the country's largest conglomerate, Wednesday on bribery allegations.
Samsung is suspected of donating tens of millions of U.S. dollars to two non-profit foundations controlled by Choi Soon-sil, President Park Geun-hye's longtime confidante, in return for receiving favors in the merger of its two subsidiaries.
Allegations include Samsung's wire transfer of 2.8 million euros to a German company owned by Choi.
The special investigative unit of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office stormed the Samsung headquarters in Gangnam district in the morning, according to local media reports.
Investigators seized materials on the merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries in July last year, which created a de-facto holding company to transfer management control to Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong from his father Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who has been hospitalized for two and a half years on heart attack.
Elliott Management, a U.S. hedge fund, opposed the merger due to an unfair exchange ratio of stocks between the two affiliates. Elliott was the third-biggest shareholder of Samsung C&T before the merger.
The National Pension Service (NPS), the second-largest owner of Samsung C&T shares at the time, voted for the merger, enabling Samsung to secure two-thirds of voting stocks required for the passage at a general meeting of shareholders last July.
Prosecutors also raided the headquarters of the national pension fund operator.