Investigators raid Samsung's Korean HQ amidst country's presidential scandal
South Korean prosecutors raided the headquarters of Apple rival Samsung on Tuesday, looking for evidence that the company might have illegally offered gifts to Choi Soon-sil, a woman accused of exploiting her connections to President Park Geun-hye.
The raid in Suwon follows an unsourced report from Yonhap News, claiming that Samsung provided 3.5 billion won ($3 million) to a company owned by Choi to fund equestrian training in Germany for her daughter, according to Bloomberg. Choi and Park have a long friendship together, but Choi was arrested on Nov. 3, and Park is under pressure to resign from thousands of protesters on the streets.
Samsung is a major force in Korea, an important part of the country's political and economic landscape — in 2013, its revenue was worth 17 percent of the country's entire GDP. While most Americans know the conglomerate for products like phones, TVs, and refrigerators, it also has its hands in fields like fashion, insurance, engineering, construction, and more.
While it remains to be seen if Samsung actually extended gifts to Choi, either way the raid will compound problems for a company still reeling from the aftermath of the Galaxy Note 7. The recall and eventual end of the phone is projected to cost at least $5.3 billion, and Samsung will now have to rebuild its brand image if it hopes for strong sales of phones like the Galaxy S8 and Note 8.