Authorities raid Samsung office in bribery probe

Special prosecutors raided the headquarters of Samsung Group in a widening probe into allegations that the massive conglomerate set up a slush fund to bribe influential figures, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the raid, which occurred in the same building where global technology giant Samsung Electronics, the flagship of the conglomerate, has its Seoul offices, came a day after investigators searched an office of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee and seven other locations.

As the raid was occurring, Samsung Electronics said net profit in the fourth quarter fell 6.6% from a year ago amid sharp declines in prices for computer memory chips, the report added.

Yim Jun-seok, a Samsung spokesman, confirmed that investigators entered the strategic planning office at the conglomerate's headquarters in Seoul. He provided no details. Investigators could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yonhap news agency, quoting sources involved in the raid, reported that dozens of prosecutors and investigators seized documents and other materials related to the allegations in Tuesday's raid.

Yonhap also reported investigators raided the residence of Lee in Seoul without citing any source. The investigation team and Samsung Group could not immediately confirm the report.

The probe, which started last week, came after Kim Yong-chul, a former top legal affairs official at Samsung, alleged that the conglomerate set up a $215 million slush fund to bribe influential figures such as prosecutors, judges and government officials, the Associated Press report further said.