He was already being held at a detention centre after appearing in court Thursday as judges deliberated whether to issue an arrest warrant.

The prosecution suspects Lee to have made $37 million Dollars in bribes to President Park Geun Hye's friend Choi Soon-Sil in exchange for the backing of a merger between two Samsung groups that would essentially allow the transfer of control of Samsung to Lee Jae Yong.

South Korean prosecutors are attempting for a second time to arrest Samsung's de facto leader, who is being investigated on bribery allegations in connection with a massive political scandal.

A decision may come late on Thursday or early Friday, based on previous instances.

Park has been stripped of her powers while the Constitutional Court decides whether to uphold her impeachment.

But prosecutors on Tuesday made a second bid for his arrest, saying they had collected more evidence in recent weeks.

South Korea's special prosecutor has focused on Samsung Group's relationship with Park, accusing Lee in his capacity as Samsung chief of pledging 43 billion won ($37.7 million) to a business and organisations backed by Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, in exchange for support of a 2015 merger of two Samsung companies.

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South Korea's special prosecutor's office has expanded charges against Samsung boss Jay Lee to include hiding the proceeds of a criminal act.

With the scandal engulfing the group for months, Samsung has not conducted its annual personnel reshuffle and failed to lay out its business targets for this year. The trappings of the scandal have garnered worldwide attention for their weird details: Choi claims to be channeling the spirit of Park's dead mother and allegedly is the power behind the throne.

If Lee is arrested it could deal a serious blow to Samsung, the world's biggest maker of smartphones, memory chips and flat-screen televisions, potentially hampering strategic decision-making such as new investments and acquisitions. It is also accused of separately giving millions of euros to Choi to bankroll her daughter's equestrian training in Germany.

On Wednesday, Samsung Group repeated an earlier denial on its official Twitter account: "Samsung has absolutely never bribed the president seeking something in return or sought illicit favours".

The merger was personally reportedly beneficial to Lee, as it eventually led him to take over control of Samsung from his father.

When the merger of Cheil Industries Inc. and Samsung C&T Corp. was originally proposed, shareholders including activist investor Paul Elliott Singer fought against it, arguing the purchase price was too low and would cement the founding family's control at the expense of minority shareholders.


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