South Korea seeks probe on alleged Samsung bribery

South Korea's National Assembly passed a bill demanding an independent investigation into allegations of bribery at the Samsung Group conglomerate, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the bill was to go to President Roh Moo-hyun for final approval.

His office has said he may veto it because state prosecutors have already launched a probe into the scandal at the country's largest industrial group, which includes Samsung Electronics, the report added.

The single-chamber legislature, however, can override a veto if a majority of its 299 members attend a floor vote and two-thirds of them vote in favor, the report said.

A total of 155 lawmakers voted for the bill, 17 cast ballots against it and 17 abstained. A total of 110 lawmakers were absent and did not vote.

The report further said legislation calls for Roh to name an independent counsel to delve into allegations against Samsung, including that it operated slush funds to bribe influential figures such as prosecutors, judges and government officials.

Other accusations include claims Samsung manipulated evidence and witnesses in a court case over a purported deal that critics say was aimed at transferring corporate control of Samsung from the group's chairman, Lee Kun-hee, to his only son, the report further said.