South Korea's special prosecutors' office said it will seek a warrant to arrest the head of Samsung Group, the country's biggest conglomerate, accusing him of paying multi-million dollar bribes to a friend of President Park Geun-hye.
Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee was questioned for 22 straight hours last week as investigators probed a corruption scandal that resulted in parliament impeaching Park last month.
The special prosecutors' office accused Lee of paying bribes totaling 43 billion won ($36.42 million) to Choi Soon-sil, a friend of the president who is at the center of scandal.
Lee, who became the de facto head of the Samsung Group after his father, Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack in 2014, was also accused of embezzlement and perjury in the prosecution's application for an arrest warrant.
Seoul's central district court said a hearing would be held at 10:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) on Wednesday to decide whether to approve the warrant.
"The special prosecutors' office, in making this decision to seek an arrest warrant, determined that while the country's economic conditions are important, upholding justice takes precedence," Lee Kyu-chul, a spokesman for the office, told a media briefing.
Samsung said it could not accept the accusations that Lee paid bribes.
"It is difficult to understand the special prosecutors' decision," it said in an emailed statement.
Prosecutors have been looking into whether Samsung's support for a business and foundations backed by Park's friend Choi may have been connected to the National Pension Service's 2015 decision to support a controversial $8 billion merger of two Samsung Group affiliates.
NPS chairman Moon Hyung-pyo was indicted on Monday on charges of abuse of power and giving false testimony.