SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's independent counsel team said Thursday that it will continue probe into conglomerates though its arrest request for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was rejected earlier in the day.
Lee Kyu-chul, spokesman of special prosecutors investigating a scandal involving President Park Geun-hye, told a press briefing that investigations into other large businesses will last regardless of whether Vice Chairman Lee was detained or not
The prosecutors requested a warrant on Monday to take the Samsung heir into custody for charges of bribery, perjury and embezzlement, but it was rejected by a court for a room for dispute over the charges.
Lee is suspected of bribing President Park's longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil and Choi's daughter in return for getting support from the national pension fund for the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates.
Samsung made the biggest donations among 53 conglomerates to two nonprofit foundations controlled by Choi.
Lotte Group is suspected of donating in exchange for business favors, while SK and CJ groups are suspected of making contributions to let their imprisoned chairmen get presidential pardons.
Meanwhile, the spokesman reiterated its plan to conduct face-to-face interrogation of the impeached president as late as the beginning of February in view of investigation schedules.
He said prosecutors will take necessary measures to schedule the interrogation in advance.
President Park had refused to be quizzed by prosecutors, but she pledged to be investigated by the independent counsel team. It remains to be seen whether she became the first sitting South Korean leader to be interviewed as a criminal suspect.