A South Korean court was in serious consideration on Thursday whether to issue an arrest warrant for a Samsung heir in connection to a big corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of the country's president.
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong walked into the Seoul Central District Court without speaking to the pack of reporters.
Lee and other Samsung top executives have been questioned over the past several weeks by prosecutors investigating the influence-peddling scandal that engulfed President Park Geun-hye.
Park, whose power was suspended in December by the parliament, is waiting for a decision by the country's Constitutional Court on whether to permanently remove her from the presidential seat.
The prosecutors are seeking permission for the second time to arrest the 48-year-old billionaire heir to Samsung. They accuse him of giving bribes worth $36 million to President Park and her long-time friend in order to win government favors for a smooth company leadership transition.
The prosecutors are also investigating Lee on allegations of embezzlement, hiding assets overseas and lying under oath during a parliamentary hearing.
Samsung has denied that it has offered bribes or sought any wrongful favors to the president.
If the court approves the arrest warrant, the prosecutors will be able to take him into the custody for up to 21 days before they formally press charges. The approval would also help bring bribery charges against President Park.
If the court dismisses the arrest warrant, it will deal another blow to the prosecutors who have until Feb. 28 to investigate the scandal, unless the parliament extends the deadline.