A South Korean special prosecution team investigating the widening influence-peddling scandal that has engulfed the presidency has placed the chairman of the National Pension Service (NPS) under arrest.
The special prosecutor’s office did not provide further details on the arrest of NPS chairman Moon Hyung-pyo, Reuters reports.
On Monday, it raided his home on suspicion of abuse of power.
The special prosecutor has been looking into whether Moon pressured the pension fund to support the US$8 billion merger last year of two Samsung Group affiliates while he was head of the Ministry of Health and Welfare which runs the NPS.
Arriving at the special prosecutor’s office on Tuesday, Moon said he would cooperate with prosecutors and did not elaborate when asked if he pressured the NPS to vote for the merger.
On Dec. 9, the NPS called “groundless” a media report saying that Moon had pressured the NPS to support the merger.
With 545 trillion won (US$451.35 billion) under management at the end of September, the NPS is the world’s third largest pension fund and was a major shareholder in Samsung Group affiliates Cheil Industries Inc. and Samsung C&T Corp. when they merged last year.
The tie-up was criticized by some investors for strengthening the founding family’s control of the group, South Korea’s largest “chaebol”, or conglomerate, at the expense of other shareholders.
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