SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- South Korean prosecutors independently investigating the scandal involving impeached President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday sought their second arrest warrant for the heir apparent of Samsung Group, the country's biggest family-controlled conglomerate.
The arrest warrant for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was requested, the independent counsel team said. A Seoul court is forecast to determine its validity on Thursday night or early Friday.
The special prosecutors, who launched investigation into the presidential scandal on Dec. 21 last year, sought their first warrant on Jan. 16 that was rejected by the court three days later for lack of evidence.
In the past three weeks, they looked further into the case, storming the country's anti-trust body and the financial regulator on Feb. 3 to collect evidences.
In the rejected warrant, Lee was charged with bribery, embezzlement and perjury. The prosecutors said that more charges were added to the vice chairman, but it added details will be unveiled during a press briefing Wednesday.
This time around, the arrest warrant for Park Sang-jin, Samsung Electronics president for corporate relations, was also sought for bribery charges.
He is seen as playing a role of the bridge between Samsung and the side of Choi Soon-sil, President Park's longtime confidante who is at the center of the influence-peddling scandal.
Vice Chairman Lee is suspected of offering tens of millions of U.S. dollars to Choi in return for winning support from the national pension fund in the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates to create a de-facto holding firm.
The merger was crucial to the Samsung heir, who has actually led the business empire since his father Chairman Lee Kun-hee was incapacitated for heart attack in May 2014, to inherit the overall management control.
Lee's legal team has acknowledged the group's contributions to the two nonprofit foundations controlled by Choi, but denied any quid pro quo for the donations.
Lee was summoned on Monday morning for questioning that had lasted for about 15 hours. When he appeared at the office of special prosecutors, protesters shouted for the detention of Lee as well as other heads of business conglomerates.
Public calls rose for the break-up of conglomerates, dubbed chaebols here, to sever the deep-rooted link between politicians and businessmen.
Displayed in recent candlelit rallies, which have been held every Saturday night since late October last year, were effigies to depict the impeached leader and chaebol heads dressed in blue prison uniform and tied with ropes.
Organizers of the candlelight vigils on Tuesday submitted signatures, obtained from about 25,000 people through a campaign, to the independent counsel to demand the re-attempt to detain the vice chairman.
The special prosecutors' investigation has been centered on Samsung Group, and it would be hard to expand into other conglomerates given the limited period of the special probe allowed.
The special probe is scheduled to end by the end of this month. It can be extended for up to 30 days if Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is serving as acting president, allows it, but there is little possibility for the extension as he is one of the closest aides to the impeached leader.
Opposition lawmakers are pushing to revise the law to extend the probe through parliamentary agreement.