Prosecutors raided the company’s headquarters in Seoul on Tuesday in connection with an abuse-of-power scandal that’s engulfing the South Korean government.
The prosecutor’s office said it is investigating Samsung over possible links to the case involving President Park Geun-hye and her close confidante Choi Soon-sil. Park is accused of letting Choi, who does not hold an official government post, view confidential documents and presidential speeches.
Local media and opposition parties have accused Choi of using her relationship with Park to accumulate millions of dollars in donations to her foundations. Samsung, the country’s biggest company, is alleged to have been among the contributors.
South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that prosecutors are looking into whether Samsung illegally funneled more than $3 million to a company owned by Choi, allegedly to fund her daughter’s equestrian training in Germany.
Samsung and the prosecutor’s office declined to comment on the allegations reported by Yonhap.
The growing political firestorm has engulfed Park’s administration, spurring tens of thousands of protesters to take to the streets demanding her resignation.
Two of the president’s former aides have been arrested. And prosecutors issued a warrant for Choi last week on charges of abuse of power and attempted fraud.
Park apologized twice for the scandal, maintaining she wasn’t being controlled by anyone, and sacked her prime minister last week.
Meanwhile, Samsung is still reeling from the embarrassing fiasco involving its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.
The tech giant killed off the Note 7 last month after repeated reports of the device bursting into flames. That crisis has already wiped out more than $5 billion in profit for the company.
In South Korea, Samsung is more than just a smartphone manufacturer. The conglomerate accounts for a big chunk of the country’s economy, reaching into many parts of South Koreans’ lives. There are Samsung hospitals, amusement parks, apartment complexes and even a dog adoption center.