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South Korea seeks arrest warrant for Samsung heir in merger probe

South Korean prosecutors have requested an arrest warrant against Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee and two former company executives, they said on Thursday, in an investigation of a controversial 2015 merger and alleged accounting fraud. The move spells fresh legal trouble for Lee, who already faces trial on a charge of bribery aimed at winning support to succeed ailing group patriarch Lee Kun-hee, and which involved former President Park Geun-hye. Prosecutors said the warrant against Lee was sought on suspicions of stock price manipulation, among other offences. Samsung declined to comment. Lee, 51, spent a year in detention until the bribery case was suspended in 2018, but the possibility of a tougher sentence has emerged after the Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling on the case last year. Prosecutors have been investigating suspected accounting fraud at drug company Samsung Biologics (207940.KS) after the Korean financial watchdog complained the firm’s value had been inflated by 4.5 trillion won ($3.7 billion) in 2015. Last month, Lee was questioned by prosecutors investigating the accounting fraud accusation and a controversial 2015 merger they said may have helped him advance his succession-planning agenda at South Korea’s top conglomerate.

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