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South Korea orders further arrests at Samsung Electronics, about the accounting scandal

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at its office in Seoul, South Korea, March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/Photo File

SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean court approved arrest warrants on Saturday for two executives at Samsung Electronics Co Ltd over their alleged role in an alleged accounting fraud at the biotech arm of Samsung Group.

The Seoul Central District Court said in a statement it had granted warrants to the arrest of the leaders by concerns over possible destruction of evidence.

However, the court rejected the prosecution’s request for a warrant to arrest the chief executive of Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd.

Two Samsung Electronics officials were also arrested on suspicion of destroying evidence earlier this month.

South Korea’s financial watchdog in November accused of the biotech branch of Samsung Group from the breaking of the accounting rules for its 2016 listing, sparking a criminal investigation.

Both Samsung Electronics and Samsung BioLogics were not immediately available for comment.

The widening of the probe comes at a difficult time for the Samsung Group, South Korea’s top family-run conglomerate, as the de facto head and heir Jay Y. Lee is waiting on a ruling from the Supreme court on bribery charges, and political pressure builds for more transparency in the board.

Samsung BioLogics had been touted as a new growth engine for the Samsung Group amid a slowdown in the global smartphone market. Samsung Electronics is the second largest shareholder of Biological medicinal products, with a 31.5 percent of the shares.

Samsung Electronics had no comment on the matter before, except that the cooperation with the prosecutors.

Reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Stephen Coates and Elane Hardcastle

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